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Sofuoglu: "If Toprak wins challenge with BMW in SBK he can think about MotoGP"

"So many people thought he made the wrong choice to leave Yamaha, but we were convinced that with BMW he would be faster. Saturday on the grid I told him, 'Believe it, none of the riders around here can beat you.' I know I'm hard on him sometimes, but that's the mentality."

SBK: Sofuoglu:

Kenan Sofuoglu was among the first to celebrate it, and we are convinced that for him this success has a special flavor. Last year, when he chose to leave Yamaha for BMW, there was no shortage of doubts and misgivings about the Turkish rider's choice.

Instead, Toprak disproved everyone, taking success in the second round on a track where in the past he has charged significant gaps. Given what number 54 has done, we therefore had a couple of jokes with his manager, namely Kenan, who did not shy away from our questions.

"Obviously we're very happy with what Toprak did in Barcelona in this second round," he told us, "when we chose BMW we knew that this bike would be no worse than the Yamaha, and in the end I think it's obvious. The only doubt was whether we could beat Bautista and the Ducati. The fact is, however, that in these first two rounds Toprak has shown that he is fast and strong, but above all he is able to adapt to each bike and be smart in exploiting the potential."

A weekend like Barcelona takes away a lot of doubts and pressure.
"Last year many people thought we made the wrong choice, but now Toprak is faster than he was in 2023. He is still not 100 percent because there are still several aspects to improve on the bike, but in the next races I am convinced he can be even stronger since Phillip Island and Barcelona are particular tracks because of the conditions."

How impressed were you with this Toprak?
"He won before we expected, considering we didn't know what to expect and how fast he would be. In testing, however, he immediately showed that he was competitive, and that's when I started to believe that we can win and be among the title contenders. Maybe Toprak may not be a dry lap rider, but he is certainly one of the fastest riders in the race. Before coming here to Barcelona we were worried, but then at the end we were surprised, because the bike and Toprak together have a lot of potential."

How much of Kenan and his methods is there in this victory?
"First of all you have to understand the mental aspect of every rider, because that's what makes the difference. You can use as many words as you want, but in the end it matters what the rider takes in. On Saturday, before the race, I told him when we were on the grid, "None of these close riders can beat you, believe it!" In the end that was the case. Maybe my teachings and mindset is hard, but I think that's the way to get results. If you use the wrong words with a rider you then risk destroying him."

In all this there is always continued talk about Toprak and MotoGP.
"As I have always said my goal has been to help Toprak become a champion in Superbike and not in MotoGP. Now we have this challenge with BMW in front of us, which we want to win. If Toprak wins the challenge with BMW in SBK he can think about MotoGP. The moment a rider becomes champion he can have more possibilities."

Automatic Translation by DeepL

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