Sofuoglu rejects satellite MotoGP idea, Razgatlioglu could leave Yamaha?

Kenan Sofuoglu says he is prepared to play hard ball in order to get WorldSBK Champ Toprak Razgatlioglu a factory MotoGP deal for 2024

Toprak Razgatlioglu, Kenan Sofuoglu

Kenan Sofuoglu has reiterated he has no desire to negotiate a MotoGP contract for Toprak Razgatlioglu with a satellite team as he warned Yamaha the Turk will be prepared to leave the manufacturer for the right deal.

The defending WorldSBK Champion was tipped to make an earlier than planned move to the MotoGP premier class in 2023 - despite having a contract to continue racing in the production series - after romping to the world title in 2021.

However, any 2023 MotoGP deal would have had to come within the Yamaha sphere and with the factory line-up seeing no changes with Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo, Sofuoglu declined to consider a potential move to RNF Racing even before it switched allegiance from Yamaha to Aprilia.

It means the youngster is a free agent for 2024 with Sofuoglu - a five-time WorldSSP Champion and Razgatlioglu’s manager - emphasising that he will open up talks to other factory MotoGP teams for 2024 

“One thing is clear: Yamaha’s MotoGP factory team has signed Quartararo. So [Toprak] has no opportunity,” he said. “They were speaking about the B team but always when I spoke with Yamaha, I told them we are never, ever interested to be in MotoGP with a B team. If we come to MotoGP, only in an official team. Without that, we’re not interested.”

“Yamaha has lost their second team and their factory team is full, so we’ll be in WorldSBK next year. One thing is clear, in 2024 we are able to speak with any brand, any MotoGP team. 

“But if Toprak comes to the MotoGP paddock, he will not come with a B team. If he comes to the paddock, it’ll only be with an official team. Without that he’ll stay in WorldSBK. I’m going to put my riders only in an official team.”

Is Sofuoglu aiming too high with Razgatlioglu MotoGP demands?

If Sofuoglu is one thing, he is not shy in making his feelings known towards teams but while his ultimatum-like demands with Razgatlioglu are in part negotiating confidence, his determination to secure the Turk a factory MotoGP deal for 2024 hasn’t wavered.

But it’s a hard ball attitude that hasn’t endeared Sofuoglu to many teams, regardless of Razgatlioglu’s quality as a racer.

For the record, Yamaha is clearly very keen to nurture Razgatlioglu into MotoGP as demonstrated by his recent MotoGP test at Aragon.

However, the transition from WorldSBK to MotoGP hasn’t been an oft-traversed one for some time with only the likes of Cal Crutchlow and James Toseland making the move in the last 15 years, discounting those who made the jump during the CRT era.

With this in mind, a shift towards a satellite team would seem a more logical move for Razgatlioglu and provide some insurance for Yamaha… or at least it would have done had RNF not left Yamaha without a ‘B Team’.

Working in Razgatlioglu’s favour, however, is the disappointing performance of Franco Morbidelli, who has struggled for points all season.

The Italian’s pre-arranged contract in 2023 will seemingly be honoured but if his form doesn’t improve then Razgatlioglu is surely next-in-line, especially given there is no rider waiting in the wings in a satellite squad now.