Toprak Razgatlioglu MotoGP plans on ice as Yamaha forced to downsize

Toprak Razgatlioglu will remain in WorldSBK for the 2023 season after the option of a potential MotoGP move is scuppered by Yamaha's forced downsizing

Toprak Razgatlioglu

Yamaha has confirmed Toprak Razgatlioglu will remain in the WorldSBK Championship for the 2023 season after the manufacturer confirmed there would now be no room in its downsized MotoGP line-up.

The manufacturer confirmed during this weekend’s Italian MotoGP at Mugello that it would be forced down to just its two factory Yamaha M1s next season following confirmation its current satellite partner, RNF Racing, will defect to Aprilia.

With the revelation apparently catching Yamaha unawares, it leaves the Japanese manufacturer limited time to source a replacement while it focuses on retaining its MotoGP title with Fabio Quartararo.

The Frenchman is likely to continue with Yamaha alongside the already confirmed Franco Morbidelli next season, leaving no room for 2021 WorldSBK Champion Razgatlioglu in its MotoGP line-up.

The Turkish rider holds a Yamaha contract to the end of 2023 and had - on record at least - intended to see it out in WorldSBK, even turning down an offer to join Petronas SRT (ahead of its rebrand to RNF Racing) in favour of staying in the production series to pursue the title.

However, after going on to clinch the 2021 WorldSBK title, momentum had been building behind a potential early graduation for 2023 with a maiden test on the M1 planned for Aragon next month. 

“The meaning behind the test was his interest to try the MotoGP bike as well,” Lin Jarvis told “Secondly, it was a bit of a reward from Yamaha for his Championship last year and his continued commitment with Yamaha for the future. 

“So, I think the biggest target for that test remains the same. Relax, test, enjoy and experience the MotoGP bike, to get a taste of what it could be like if he chooses to move in the future. 

“But obviously this news of not having a satellite team, in any case, means we don’t have a spot, period, because we will only have two bikes in the factory team.”

Will Toprak Razgatlioglu choose MotoGP… or Yamaha?

Despite a steady stream of reports suggesting otherwise, the likelihood of Razgatlioglu stepping up to MotoGP had been relatively slim even before RNF Racing’s bombshell news.

Indeed, Suzuki’s revelation that it will quit MotoGP at the end of the year has shrunk the grid and swelled the talent pool for 2023, pushing the comparatively unproven Razgatlioglu - who is yet to try a MotoGP bike - down the pecking order of priority.

Even so, there had been an evident keenness from Yamaha to give Razgatlioglu the option of a 2023 MotoGP seat but always knew a spot at RNF Racing was the best that it could offer, a prospect that the Turk’s mentor and manager Kenan Sofuoglu flatly dismissed as not befitting of the 25-year old.

Indeed, Yamaha has vested reasons to act early since waiting until 2024 to promote him leaves him open to alternative offers from rivals now.

With Sofuoglu insisting he and his rider would only consider factory-backed options for MotoGP, the ball has been left very much in Yamaha’s court.