WorldSBK Champ Toprak Razgatlioglu completes long awaited maiden MotoGP test

Toprak Razgatlioglu throws his leg over a MotoGP machine for the first time as the WorldSBK champp completes a maiden test aboard the Yamaha M1 at Aragon

Toprak Razgatlioglu - Yamaha MotoGP


WorldSBK Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu has completed his long-awaited first test aboard a MotoGP machine during a private session at the Motorland Aragon circuit with Yamaha.

The 25-year old has emerged as one of motorcycle racing’s standout young talents following a rise through the ranks that culminated in him ending Jonathan Rea’s six-year reign as WorldSBK Champion last season.

Unusually, however, Razgatlioglu is a product of the production series ladder with no prior experience of racing a grand prix-specification machine beyond a Red Bull Rookies Cup KTM.

Despite this, the Turkish rider is being groomed to make the increasingly rare WorldSBK to MotoGP direct step in future with this week’s private test at Aragon aboard the Yamaha M1 arranged by the manufacturer as a reward for his title success and as a chance for him to familiarise himself with the faster machinery.

“This was my first day on the Yamaha M1 MotoGP bike and it felt completely different to my R1,” Razgatlioglu said after completing a series of short stints before rain cut his day short. 

“More horsepower, different electronics, seamless gearbox, all of which is completely new for me. With every lap I learned more, because after the WorldSBK it’s not so easy to adapt to the MotoGP machine. 

“Fortunately, I had Cal Crutchlow on hand to offer advice and he was able to help me a lot. The bike feels good, especially on the straight where it’s very fast, and it was interesting to experience the carbon brakes. 

“The conditions were really hot today, so we stuck to doing five or six lap runs only after the initial run of 12 laps to get a first feeling for the bike. When I watch the MotoGP bikes on television here at Aragon you can see it is a bit bumpy, and I can feel it here today. 

“It’s not so bad, you have to keep the gas open to ride through the bumps, because if you close then it becomes more unstable. 

”Overall, a very positive test, even if it was cut short by rain this afternoon, which meant I didn’t get quite as many laps in as I’d have liked. I really enjoyed riding the MotoGP bike, so many thanks to Yamaha for allowing me this opportunity.”

When could Razgatlioglu make WorldSBK to MotoGP?

It comes as no surprise that Razgatlioglu offers up a fairly modest appraisal to describe a test that has been keenly anticipated by everyone else for several months now.

Indeed, at one stage there seemed to be a lot riding on this test as Razgatlioglu’s name became increasingly uttered in relation to an earlier-than-planned move to MotoGP next season, a pressure made all the more consuming by concerns his flamboyant style of race craft wouldn’t suit such a machine.

However, with the MotoGP rider market swelling on the announcement of Suzuki’s impending exit - shuffling Razgatlioglu down the order of priority as a result - and Yamaha’s satellite arm RNF Racing set to defect to Aprilia in 2023, that speculation has ebbed away for another year.

This will perhaps come as some relief to the man himself, whose WorldSBK title defence has suffered a stuttering start with only one win and two DNFs leaving him 79 points adrift in the title race after four rounds already.

While there isn’t much to be gleaned from Razgatlioglu’s words, no lap times were revealed and there is no word on whether he’ll be getting another outing before the year is out but it still represents a big step on a journey towards MotoGP that many expect him to make.