Fuming Razgatlioglu rails at WorldSBK team-mate Gerloff for ‘big stupid mistake’

Toprak Razgatlioglu hits out at Yamaha stablemate Garrett Gerloff for the 'big, stupid mistake' that puts him well adrift in the 2021 WorldSBK title fight

Toprak Razgatlioglu - Pata Yamaha WorldSBK 2021, Garrett Gerloff - GRT Yamaha

Erstwhile WorldSBK Championship leader Toprak Razgatlioglu couldn’t hide his feelings in response to being wiped out into retirement from the second race at Assen following contact with Yamaha stablemate Garrett Gerloff.

The Turkish rider suffered his first DNF of the year after being impacted by an over-eager Gerloff at the opening turn of the Dutch circuit, Razgatlioglu - having initially looked set to get the hole-shot from the front row - instead sent sliding down into the gravel trap.

Indeed, the involvement of Gerloff adds a bitter twist to a sorry tale, the American having attempted to squeeze his GRT Yamaha into a tight gap to the inside of the sister Pata R1 after getting a good start from eighth on the grid.

It capped off a frustrating weekend for Razgatlioglu having seen his slender two point advantage over Jonathan Rea reversed by the Briton’s two wins to the Yamaha man’s second and third place results. However, with Rea winning Race 2 in Razgatlioglu’s absence, the margin between the two has now multiplied to 37 points.

While Yamaha itself has softened the rhetoric through its own channels, Razgatlioglu was much more honest in an interview with Servus TV where he questioned  why Gerloff would attempt such a move at all, let alone on his own title-contending team-mate.

"I am surprised because it was a big mistake, a stupid mistake. Because it’s just the start, not even the second lap, so why would you try such a hard-braking move? Also, I am fighting for the Championship and I am a Yamaha rider. 

“This race, we were in really good shape, we used the same tyre as the Superpole Race, and we were very strong in the last race. Anyway, the weekend is finished, and the championship now won’t be easy for me. 

“Now every race I’ll be fighting for the win, and I’m not looking at the championship because the gap is 37 points. We will see what happens in the next races.”

Garrett Gerloff under a harsh spotlight for incidents again

This isn’t the first time Gerloff has come under scrutiny for some sloppily incidents this year, though his collision with Razgatlioglu is easily his most cataclysmic.

Questions were raised earlier in the year when he fluffed a pass in damp conditions on Jonathan Rea that sent himself down and his rival bouncing across the grass. He then riled Michael Ruben Rinaldi when he rear-ended the Ducati rider at Estoril, taking them both out of the race.

Indeed, the latest incident undoes a lot of the hard work Gerloff has been doing in recent months, having now established himself as a front-runner in WorldSBK, so much so he put himself in the shop window for a move into MotoGP next year.

Ironically, Gerloff and Yamaha announced an extension to their WorldSBK agreement prior to the Assen weekend and there was a time on Friday where it seemed the American could challenge for his first win this weekend.

However, a crash in qualifying left him on the back foot for Race 1 and the Superpole Race, ultimately leading to his ill-fated Race 2 showing. Worse still, having survived his brush with Razgatlioglu, he served a long lap penalty before then crashing out altogether on lap 12.

You didn’t need to be an expert in body language to spot a man who thought his world had come crashing down with him...