MotoGP

Toprak Razgatlioglu rejected MotoGP offer for WorldSBK title bid

Toprak Razgatlioglu wants to focus on winning the WorldSBK Championship before deciding on a move to the MotoGP World Championship

Toprak Razgatlioglu turned down a ‘good offer from a good team’ to compete in the 2020 MotoGP World Championship season, according to his manager Kenan Sofuoglu.

The 23-year old is considered one of the sport’s most precocious young stars following a meteoric rise through the WorldSBK ranks over the past twelve months, during which he scored two wins for the privateer Puccetti Kawasaki team in 2019 en route to fifth overall.

Turning down a factory Kawasaki seat in favour of a move to Yamaha for 2020 – in part because Kawasaki controversially axed him from its Suzuka 8 Hours line-up on the eve of the race – Razgatlioglu began the season strongly with a win in Australia before the coronavirus forced lockdown proceedings.

Even so, Razgtalioglu is reportedly on the radar of even higher powers, with a number of MotoGP bosses taking a keen interest in him. 

According to Sofuoglu – a five-time WorldSSP Champion – that led to an offer being made to go all the way to the premier class. However, he turned it down because he is focused on becoming Turkey’s first WorldSBK champion either this year or in 2021.

"I can tell you that there was interest in Toprak from MotoGP,” he said. “I immediately said to him that although it was a good offer from a good team, we had set our sights on the WorldSBK in 2020. When I brought him into the Superstock 1000 at the time, I made it clear to him that a few years in the WorldSBK were important to him.

"Should Toprak Razgatlioglu win everything there was to win in WorldSBK in 2021 and should an offer be received from a factory team, I will change my plan.

“Toprak himself would like to join MotoGP. Our plan, however, is that he will do something historic in the Superbike World Championship - it will become a legend.”

Can Toprak Razgatlioglu succeed in MotoGP?

It’s been a while since a Superbike upstart has progressed all the way to MotoGP successfully. Indeed, of the current riders only one – Cal Crutchlow – has previously started a WorldSBK race en route to the top-flight, though Danilo Petrucci did previously compete in Superstock 1000.

Razgatlioglu is increasingly being tipped as the rider most capable of dethroning the dominant Jonathan Rea – a view held by the Ulsterman himself – with victory on his Yamaha debut in Australia adding further weight to this.

With a physical and aggressive riding style, Razgatlioglu has won himself plenty of fans and coupled with an increasing fanbase in Turkey, he could become a huge asset for MotoGP commercially too.

Time is on his side so opting to focus on WorldSBK before looking at MotoGP shows considerable maturity… even if it could be perceived as risk if he bides too much of his time there.
 

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