“WorldSBK title isn’t for me, it’s for my father” - Toprak Razgatlioglu

Toprak Razgatlioglu savours his 2021 WorldSBK Championship title triumph, dedicating the success to his late father and inspiration, Arif Razgatlioglu

Toprak Razgatlioglu - Pata Yamaha

Toprak Razgatlioglu has spoken of realising his dream in becoming the 2021 WorldSBK Champion before dedicating the historic achievement to his late father.

Razgatlioglu became the first Turkish rider to win one of motorcycle racing’s most coveted prizes after holding his nerve in a tense, weather-affected season finale at Mandalika, in so doing ending Jonathan Rea’s long six-year tenure on the WorldSBK title-winners’ throne.

An achievement of many facets, Razgatlioglu’s success brings Yamaha only its second WorldSBK title - 12 years after Ben Spies scored its maiden championship win in 2009 - in a year the Iwata marque swept the board with titles in MotoGP, WorldSBK, WorldSSP, BSB and MotoAmerica.

It is also the culmination of Razgatlioglu’s methodical rise through the production-racing ranks, starting with the European Superstock 600 series, where - after winning his first-ever race as a wild-card in 2014 - won the title the following year. It makes him the first rider with a junior category title to go on to win the WorldSBK Championship.

Making his WorldSBK debut in 2018 and spending two seasons with the privateer Puccetti Kawasaki team - scoring two famous wins at Magny-Cours from 16th on the grid - Razgatlioglu’s big break came with a move to the factory Yamaha squad in 2020, preceding his crowning 2021 campaign.

Describing the title as a ‘dream’ realised, Razgatlioglu took the moment to dedicate the win to his late father, Arif. One of Turkey’s foremost motorcycle stunt riders and inspiration for Razgatlioglu’s racing career, Arif passed away four years ago as his son started in WorldSBK.

“It was the dream of my father,” he told Bikesportnews. “My father was always working for me,” he said. “He said always, ‘You will be one day world champion.’ But it’s not possible to see today. He died four years ago. Today is a very special day and very special season because I say this is for my dad. This is not really my day. I am really happy for this.”

A remarkable season typified by some electric battles between himself and Jonathan Rea, Razgatlioglu was proud to be the one to end such a dominant, record-breaking era of a rider that contributed to mentoring the Turk when he was starting out at Kawasaki.

Joking that he isn’t being ‘helped’ anymore, Razgatlioglu also played down some of the more controversial moments in the season, namely the occasional physical racing and a controversial penalty at Magny-Cours that reversed his win.

“Jonathan is really, really strong. Also I think in this paddock every rider’s dream is beating Jonny, I think. Not easy because in 2018 he was helping me in World Superbike. Also I rode a Kawasaki. But two years, riding different brand and we are fighting on track. He is now not helping!

“Also, this season we are fighting. Magny-Cours bring the line [reffering the track limits penalty that handed victory to Rea]. 

“This is okay because we are fighting. This is world championship, but outside I never said anything because we are friends. We are fighting just in the track and always respecting.”