Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK rider Toprak Razgatlıoğlu triumphed once again at Donington Park, the FIM Superbike World Championship’s historic birthplace, backing up his incredible victory yesterday from the fifth row of the grid with another sensational win in Race 2.
To start with, 24-year-old Razgatlıoğlu set about the business of securing a better grid position for Race 2 in the 10-lap Superpole Race this morning. With a drying track being declared a “Wet Race”, there was no option but to run on intermediate tyres in the slightly damp conditions. With sixth position at the chequered flag and fastest lap of the race, he was able to start from the second row this afternoon.
Earlier today #54 Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK Crew Chief Phil Marron predicted that the race would be dry – and while spots of rain on the grid threatened otherwise – he proved to be right. The dry circuit led to another no-holds-barred fight between the team’s Turkish rider and Jonathan Rea for the first 10 laps until Rea made a mistake on the entry to Coppice Corner. With Rea failing to score any points, Razgatlıoğlu takes the series lead by a slim margin of two points – the first time a Yamaha rider has led the production-based championship since its return to WorldSBK in 2016.
Razgatlıoğlu’s teammate Andrea Locatelli was disappointed by his Race 2 result but, considering the level is so high, Locatelli’s step-by-step progression and intelligent approach to his rookie WorldSBK season has impressed many.
Despite struggling with rear wheel spin particularly in the latter stages of Race 2, the young Italian delivered another points-scoring result where others faltered and kept a cool head in the tricky Superpole Race to finish in the top nine, which allowed him a better start position for the second main race of the weekend.
The fifth round of the championship awaits for Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK at the TT Circuit Assen, The Netherlands, in less than three weeks’ time from 23-25 July.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SPRC: P6 / Race 2: P1
“This morning the Superpole Race was not so good, I tried my best but it was a sixth position finish with the intermediate tyres. I hoped that we would see dry conditions for Race 2 because this is the important race and I need to be at the front. The race was not easy because every lap I was pushing for the win. I followed Jonathan and the race track grip was not like yesterday, because three times I almost lose the front tyre! And I say, “okay, now I follow Jonny and we see near the end” but he made a big mistake and crashed, so after that I try for a consistent lap time and bring the bike back to the team. I think my favourite track is Donington Park, because in 2018 and 2019 I was on the podium two times in second position. This year, two victories, so I am really happy and I want again to thank Yamaha and my team. In Assen, I like the track but it will be the first time I ride the R1 there – but I think no problem, I am looking forward to it!”
Andrea Locatelli – SPRC: P9 / Race 2: P11
“In the Superpole Race, I lost the front group at the start and the conditions were little bit crazy like yesterday. I was in the middle group and I lost too much time but in the end we were able to take P9 to start on the third row of the grid for Race 2. But, in Race 2, there was just one point on the circuit where I lost too much time with the rear grip, especially in the last sector – I don’t understand why. But from the first to the last lap, I found it so difficult to ride and to stay with the group in front. In the end, it was not so easy. But we can be happy with this weekend after the crash in Race 1. I want to thank my crew because they worked a lot yesterday to give me a new bike. Now, we go to Assen and for sure we will try to start faster and push a little bit more for the next race. I know the track from Moto3 and Moto2 which is one nice point, so we will stay focused just on the setup and to try and go as fast as possible!”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK
“I’m a little bit surprised to be honest because, with the weather forecast as it was and Jonathan’s history of winning in wet conditions, the expectation was maybe more to manage the losses this weekend than it was to take the championship lead for the first time! Toprak was simply stunning today. Even the Superpole Race on a really difficult circuit, keeping it on two wheels and improving his pace throughout to secure a great starting position for the important Race 2 – and then of course, the battle at the front was only between him and Jonathan from the first corner onwards. It looked like it was going to be a fair bit of cat and mouse, but Toprak managed to pressure Jonathan into a mistake and from then on, he used his head superbly, managed the gap and brought it home for a famous double victory and lead in the WorldSBK Championship. A great moment for the team, Yamaha and Toprak, but we’ll keep our feet on the ground. We’re only four rounds into a 13 round series and we look forward to re-joining the fight in Assen. Andrea’s day was positive in terms of the Superpole Race and improvement into the top nine, showing good strong pace to get there. But Race 2 was a disappointment for him, he suffered a lot of rear wheel spin which hadn’t been the case earlier in the day and the team will be checking from a setup point of view to see if anything more could have been done to improve this point as Andrea picks up more valuable WorldSBK experience.”