Can Razgatlioglu get back to winning ways at Misano?

Wednesday, 8 June 2022 08:45 GMT

The Italian venue was the scene of the 2021 Champion’s first victory last season, will history repeat itself in 2022?

Three rounds of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship have been completed and reigning Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) is still waiting for his first victory of the season. The Emilia-Romagna Round at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” was the scene of Razgatlioglu’s first win of the 2021 season, when he won Race 2, so will he be able to repeat that success this season?

Razgatlioglu started the 2021 season with no victories until Race 2 at Misano, the ninth race of the campaign, before claiming a win that kickstarted his title challenge in earnest. After not winning in the first eight races, Razgatlioglu was able to battle back to claim the 2021 title after a season-long fight with rival Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK); the title being decided at the season-ending Indonesian Round.

In 2022, the Emilia-Romagna Round makes up round four of the 2022 season and with Razgatlioglu yet to win, he has already tied his streak from the start of last season at nine races without a win and the Turkish star will be hoping his run doesn’t extend much further as he looks to close the gap in the Championship standings to both Rea and Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati); Razgatlioglu is currently 52 points back from Bautista.

Discussing whether Misano’s layout plays into the hands of the Yamaha YZF R1 machine, Razgatlioglu’s Crew Chief, Phil Marron, said: “Last year, we saw Rinaldi was quite strong so I’m expecting him to be quite fast again. Jonny’s had a good track record there so Jonny should be strong again and the Alvaro and the Ducati combination, they’ve had a lot of testing around there, so I expect them to be quite strong. There are parts of the track that suit our bike and parts of the track that really suits the competitors’ bikes but there’s also parts of the track which Toprak makes the bike work probably better than it should. I’m expecting, like every race this year, a good, tight race.”

Razgatlioglu fought for the win last time out at the Estoril Round in both Race 1 and the Tissot Superpole Race, missing out in last-lap duels. In Race 1, Bautista got a better run out of the final corner, something Yamaha worked on at their post-Estoril test, with the Ducati rider pipping Razgatlioglu by 0.126s. In the Superpole Race, Razgatlioglu pulled off an epic save on the final lap at Turn 9 which allowed Rea through for victory by 0.174s.

Asked whether Razgatlioglu’s first win could come at Misano, Marron said: “It’s possible, to be honest. We were hoping to get it in Estoril, and we were very close! As long as he has a bike which allows him to ride the way he wants and fight at the front the way he wants as well, we’ll just do our best. Every time he gets on the bike, he tries to win so Misano’s not going to be any different.”

Looking ahead to Misano, Razgatlioglu said: “Normally I’m not looking at the whole season because I’m just focusing race by race, fighting for the win. We have many races to go and I hope, in Misano, we are fighting for the win. I remember last year my first win of the year was at Misano. I hope this year I start winning again in Misano. We made some good steps at Estoril, first in the race and also in the test – thanks to the team for making this test, it was good for me and the bike! Now, after training at home for two weeks, I am happy to go to Misano, it is a track I enjoy a lot. Before, the Estoril test was very positive because we improved a lot the rear grip which was a problem in the last round. The team and Yamaha is working to improve the R1, and in the last races I can ride more like myself and it was very close and I enjoyed the races! We take good points for the championship, but now I hope we are fighting for the win again in Misano.”

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