Following Toprak Razgatlıoğlu’s stand-out double victory in 2020, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK are eager for repeat success in the second round of the FIM Superbike World Championship this weekend at Circuito Estoril from 28-30 May.
While the season finale of 2020 in Portugal feels almost like yesterday, due to changing Covid-19 restrictions and a later season start date, the site of Yamaha’s first ever WorldSBK podium lock-out (Superpole Race 1-2-3) was just over seven months ago. So, despite previous success and the Estoril circuit layout appearing to match the characteristics and strengths of the Yamaha R1 WorldSBK, both Razgatlıoğlu and new teammate Andrea Locatelli are respectful of the challenges ahead in their predictions for the weekend.
Turkish star Razgatlıoğlu comes fresh from his first podium result of the season after a thrilling battle with Kawasaki’s Alex Lowes for second place in Race 1 in Aragón, followed by two solid sixth-place results in the following races despite compromised tyre choices in the wet.
As Estoril was the site of the 24-year-old’s career-first pole position in 2020, followed by two wins and another superb podium in third place in the final race of the season, eyes will be on him to set the pace on the technical circuit which features plenty of overtaking opportunities across its 4.182km length.
Following a strong start to his rookie WorldSBK season, Locatelli is looking to repeat or better his performance on the R1 WorldSBK in Estoril with a clear aim of top 10 results and a qualifying position in the first three rows.
Both Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK riders return to the track in anticipation for their first chance to size up the competition, and vice versa, for Free Practice 1 and 2 on Friday starting at 10:30 (UTC+1) and 15:00 local time at the historical Portuguese circuit.
“In Estoril last year I was very strong, so we know we can fight here but I am not coming to the weekend relaxed because this is the WorldSBK Championship and the competition is very high! We will try for the best position and also I aim to be fighting for the win, but we will see. Now the new R1 is much better, also a big improvement like we saw in the Aragón races, but now it’s not possible for me to say if we can continue like this in Estoril until I ride at this circuit on Friday. My feeling is very strong but I will say again, we’re not coming here relaxed and we stay focused for the weekend.”
“I’m excited for Estoril this week, because last year the Yamaha was very fast! The team had some podiums and wins, but my idea with Andrew and the guys is to continue to work and improve as it is only the second weekend of WorldSBK racing for me. For sure I think we can do really well like the last weekend in Aragón, my goal is to stay in the top 10 and qualifying well – and maybe for the races we can fight more in front, we will see but for sure I think we can take another step forward.”