His name has been on everyone’s lips in the last two weeks, especially in view of the test carried out with the Yamaha M1 in Jerez. On the eve of the Assen round, Toprak Razgatlioglu wanted to tell us all about those two days he spent in Andalusia on the MotoGP bike.
“I enjoyed testing the Yamaha MotoGP bike – he said – compared to the Aragon test, I was very lucky, because the weather was very good, and I could ride the two days without any problems. The MotoGP is a stiffer bike than the SBK and there's no doubt about that. All of this then comes down to style, because with the M1 you need to have a ride that allows you to carry more cornering speed, while the SBK is more stop and go".
You finished that test over a second behind Dani Pedrosa. How do you judge it?
“That's true, but there are many aspects to consider. The first aspect, as well as the biggest, concerns the position on the bike, which is very different from the Yamaha SBK. My flying lap was certainly nothing special, but I rode a different bike than the current one, and I never looked for a lap time. In addition to this there is the issue related to the tyres, since I usually don't use the hard tyre on the R1. Having said that, Jerez was still a useful test, because the track allows you to carefully evaluate the behaviour of the bike, especially in the slow corners. Irrespective of that, I only thought about riding, having fun".
The presence of Jarvis and Meregalli was significant.
“Lin and Maio followed me from the box and in the end, we went to dinner together. Jerez was my first real time with a MotoGP. Unfortunately, with the M1, I struggle to enter corners, in fact I lacked confidence at the front. In the end it was just a test. The most important thing is to start again from Superbike and try to be competitive".
Toprak, your contract expires at the end of the season. What is the current situation with Yamaha?
“At the moment I am very happy to be in Yamaha, because there is a lot of harmony within the team, and I feel great trust from the whole work group. If I don't go to MotoGP next year, the matter is closed, because then age is no longer on my side and there are young riders. Now, however, I still don't know what I will do in 2024 ".
There is also talk of Ducati Pramac.
“The bike is the same as the factory one and we see that all the Ducatis are competitive now in MotoGP. As I said, I'm only thinking about SBK"
Will there be another test with Yamaha for MotoGP?
“No, for the moment we have nothing else planned”.
Toprak, don't you think it's risky to accept a challenge like Yamaha's, considering the current level of the M1?
“If I were to go to MotoGP, the first year will be to learn and I certainly won't be on the podium. Maybe it could happen in the last few races, but I don't know. The fact is that here in SBK I am a winner and I know what it means to lose and to win. If I were to go to MotoGP, I already know that in the first year I would find myself eighth or tenth or fifteenth and this would be a problem for my motivation, given that here I am always fighting for victory. I say this because I consider myself a winning rider and all this would affect my motivation. In fact, the biggest problem would be to find myself a long way from the best."
But could you close the circle with the MotoGP?
“I am very happy with what I have built in this paddock and with the relationship that has been established with the people. When I started racing, I didn't dream of winning in MotoGP. I was thinking more about winning in SBK as I did, since I grew up alongside Kenan, also because no Turkish rider has ever won in SBK".
How much has Toprak changed since his SBK debut?
“Now I am a different Toprak, but my character has always remained the same. There has certainly been a lot of talk about me lately. If I were to go to MotoGP it would be nice, otherwise it will be nice to stay here in SBK. Now, however, I remain concentrated on this Championship".
Toprak, drawing a parallel with the Yamaha MotoGP bike, do you see yourself in some ways in Quartararo?
“I understand Fabio 200% and I find myself in his same situation against Ducati. To try and overtake the Ducati, he must always go to the limit and the risk of making a mistake increases. The same goes for me. Here in SBK, just to give an example, I manage to fight for 10 laps, but then it gets complicated. If I think of Barcelona, it will be impossible for us to win."
What do you think it is possible to do then?
“I hope that next year there will be a new regulation and I say this not only for us riders, but for the public at home and those present in the grandstand. I think that seeing races fought and with many overtakings and different winners is good for everyone. Because otherwise the risk is that people will get bored”.
How difficult is it to accept this situation?
“In my opinion, ours is not a simple situation and I understand when Ducati says: why doesn't Yamaha build a new bike? In my opinion we need a better balance in terms of power and weight of the bike. Now I think the acceleration of the Ducati out of corners is quite clear. I'm not just talking about the factory bikes, but all the bikes on the grid".