Always one to ignore the Championship standings, reigning World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu has his eyes on the hat-trick prize this weekend at one of his favourite and most successful circuits.
The rider in form before the mid-season summer break, reigning World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) aims to pick up from where he left off in the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship chase.
Third in the Championship but with five wins from the last six races – including a first-ever triple at Donington Park in the UK – Razgatlioglu is the rider to beat at the moment, and the next round at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours also promises to see him at the front, with it being a well-known fact that it’s his favourite circuit.
Bursting onto the scene in the WorldSBK paddock back in 2014, Razgatlioglu shocked everyone by turning up and winning in a heroic final lap shootout on his debut in the STK600 class. The pattern continued in WorldSBK in 2019, in another final lap victory battle against WorldSBK’s most successful rider, Jonathan Rea, the Turkish star closed in by more than a second to take a heroic first win – the first for Turkey in the premier class – all the way from 16th on the grid, before making it a double in the Superpole Race.
In 2021, Razgatlioglu won two races, meaning he’s out to make it five in 2022. A tricky start to the year saw him finally take honours in the Superpole Race at Misano and since then, he’s taken a further five wins and not finished lower than second on the other occasions.
The form-man right now, Razgatlioglu relishes his return to happy hunting ground this weekend: “After a long break, the feeling is very good! This is my favourite track after Donington Park, and I hope that we see two or three wins like last year. After the big crash in Barcelona, I’m feeling much better; it was a very big crash for me but luckily, nothing was broken. Now, I’m riding a bike without a problem and not feeling any pain, which is good. I am feeling ready!”
Talking about tyres, the reigning World Champion was optimistic: “I tested the new front tyre in Barcelona which wasn’t bad, but I don’t know about the rear one. I hope that there’s no rain for Friday, so that we can try the rear tyre! This is my favourite track and for me, it’s very important in the race. I’ll try my best again, like last year.”
Looking back at his illustrious success at the French circuit, Razgatlioglu detailed his favourite memory, whilst looking ahead to the title fight in the second half of 2022: “In my career, I think my best race was in 2019 with Puccetti Racing, when I took my first win. I started from P16 and finished the race in first position, so for me, this is my best WorldSBK race. I’m very happy to come back here because I’m enjoying my riding. We are here, I’ll try my best and we will see how it goes.
“We didn’t start strong this year but now I’m feeling much better; now, I’m riding like Toprak style like last year! I’m feeling similar to last year, as after half of the season, I’m feeling very strong. I hope that this weekend, then Barcelona and Portimao, we can fight for the win. I’m not looking at the Championship, I just know that the gap is 38 points. I forget about this and fight for the wins and good points; we have six rounds left and we’ll keep fighting!”