Toprak Razgatlıoğlu dominated today’s opening FIM Superbike World Championship race at Circuito Estoril, leading from start-to-finish for the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team with Rizla.
It couldn’t have gone much better for the 24-year-old, as his second race victory of the 2020 season was preceded by his first ever pole position with an astonishing gap of 0.702s to the next competitor. Razgatlıoğlu’s milestone was also the first pole position recorded by a Turkish rider at WorldSBK level.
Starting sixth on the grid, teammate Michael van der Mark started making progress to the front of the chasing pack – setting the fastest lap of the race on lap six and moving to within striking distance of the podium positions. Disappointingly, just a lap and a half later, the Dutchman suffered a slow low-side crash as he lost the front tyre under braking into Turn 7 and was forced to retire from the race.
The truncated 2020 season now offers only two more opportunities for podiums and wins, with tomorrow’s Tissot Superpole Race at 11:00 local time (GMT+1) and the final full-length race of the season at a revised start time of 15:15.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P1
“Well, I’m really happy because of qualifying, and getting pole position for the first time – and also I am surprised by the lap time. In the race, I had a really good start, I pushed hard and then I could race alone and control the gap – this is also the first start-to-finish win for me! The Yamaha R1 was really good today, I had a good feeling on the bike and was able to be fast for the first five laps and then ride easy to save the tyre. Thank you to my team, it is nice as well for them to win again. This season, we won the first race and have done it again in the last weekend. In the final races tomorrow I will try to get the victory but it will not be easy, especially in the Superpole Race where all the riders push hard. It is good for me and Yamaha to come back strong in this last race weekend of the season, I hope to do the same tomorrow.”
Michael van der Mark: DNF
“I’m really disappointed, we were struggling quite a lot yesterday but this morning we made a good step forward with the bike. In Superpole, I wasn’t completely happy with the lap, but sixth on the grid and only 0.1s from P2 wasn’t so bad. In the race I felt confident with the R1, we changed a few bits so I had to get used to it, but after a couple of laps I started to feel really comfortable. I had quite a good pace, I think I even set the fastest lap time so I was going well and catching Jonathan and Gerloff. I think I was quicker than them but I made a mistake and lost the front going into Turn 7, I’m not really sure why. It’s a shame because we had good pace, we could battle for the podium and it would have been nice to be on there with Toprak – he did a fantastic job. Tomorrow, we will try again and I’m even more determined to finish my four years with Yamaha on the podium.”
Paul Denning, Team Principal
“Motorcycle racing can be strange, sometimes the challenge can seem insurmountable and on a day like today, Toprak and his Yamaha R1 were in a different class. He made it look easy – pole position by nearly a second and a flag-to-flag race victory which was superbly controlled! Well done to Toprak and his crew and to Yamaha’s engineers for bouncing back and winning again. On the flip side, I’m personally so disappointed for Michael – after a tricky first couple of laps, obviously the pace was there and he fought his way into contention, set the fastest lap of the race and a one-two for the team may have been on the cards. A very uncharacteristic mistake into Turn 7 ended his race but we’ve got a chance tomorrow to try again. On behalf of the Pata Yamaha team, we also extend our congratulations to Jonathan Rea and his KRT squad for an incredible achievement in winning six straight titles. He has set an extreme benchmark and next year we hope to rise to the challenge.”