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SBK, Sofuoglu: “I want to make Razgatlioglu greater than me, for Turkey”

KENAN, CHAMPION AND MANAGER: “I won the Supersport World Championship for Turkey, but Turkey needs a Superbike champion. And that’s Toprak.”

SBK: Sofuoglu: “I want to make Razgatlioglu greater than me, for Turkey”

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Behind Toprak there’s another champion behind Toprak: Renan Sofuoglu. The Turkish rider has won five world titles, but in the Supersport class, and he’s a true nationalist.

I have something to show you,” Sofuoglu said during an interview with Speedweek in the Pata Yamaha pit after his protégé won the world title. “In 2018, I posted a photo. It was before Toprak’s first Superbike race. At that time, I had written, ‘This is the next Turkish world champion’. I believed in him from day one, ever since I made him race for the first time in the Superstock 600 European Championship in 2014. I knew he was a future world champion. I wanted to make him greater than I was. I won the Supersport World Championship for Turkey, but Turkey needs a Superbike champion. And that’s Toprak.”

Kenan Sofuoglu had also tried his hand in the World Championship in 2010 and 2011, in the Moto2, but he wasn’t very successful, with only a second place in the Netherlands in 2011.

He then continued: “I put him on the 1000cc in the beginning. Manuel Puccetti gave him the opportunity. He really contributed towards achieving what Toprak is today. Toprak is a very calm person, with both feet on the ground. He doesn’t go crazy, and he’s also very kind. And he’s a very strong rider. I’m very lucky to be able to work with him. Everything we talk about, he puts into practice on the track. When I saw the race, I thought it was over and that maybe in the second race we would have had a chance to win the title. But Toprak is much stronger than I am. He overtook Redding, regained the second place, and won the championship. He has so much talent and strength that he has many years ahead of him at the top. He won the Superbike World Championship in his fourth season and has a good ten years ahead of him.”

The Pata-Yamaha team wore the T-shirts celebrating the World Championship victory.

It was a very tough race. I told Toprak that he wasn’t going to win the championship easily. But if you win it the hard way, you’ll benefit from it for a long time. What’s easily won doesn’t leave a lasting impression.

 

Translated by Leila Myftija

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