Problem that caused Razgatlioglu WSBK Race 2 crash "must not occur" says Pirelli

Pirelli has confirmed that an investigation will take place into the cause of the blistering found on three tyres at WSBK's Czech round.

Toprak Razgatlioglu, 2023 Czech WorldSBK. - Gold and Goose

Toprak Razgatlioglu’s retirement from WSBK Race 2 in Most last weekend came at the worst time for Yamaha’s 2021 World Champion, and something which Pirelli has said must not happen again.

The Italian tyre manufacturer, the sole tyre supplier to WorldSBK, released a statement on Sunday confirming that Razgatlioglu’s high-side on the exit of turn two with seven laps to go was due to his rear tyre deflating.

This was made clear already by photos published from the race, and shared by Razgatlioglu on his social media channels, which showed his tyre as being off the rim at the moment he was high-sided.

Pirelli says that the problem for Razgatlioglu’s tyre, namely blistering, was also found on the tyre of two other riders - Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea and Razgatlioglu’s fellow Yamaha rider Remy Gardner. All three had chosen the SC1 tyre, the hardest in Pirelli’s WorldSBK range, in the new C0567 specification, which was a development option making its WorldSBK debut in Most.

Although blistering was apparent also on the respective rear tyres of Rea and Gardner, Pirelli Motorcycle Racing Director Giorgio Barbier said in a statement that “the blisters were extremely small and had no effect on the performance and race result”.

The full statement by Barbier reads: “In WorldSBK Race 2, with the new C0567 rear specification, we recorded three cases of blistering: Rea, Gardner and Razgatlioğlu. For the first two, the blisters were extremely small and had no effect on the performance and race result, whereas in Razgatlioğlu’s case, the tyre had two more evident blisters and the telemetry data shows sudden deflation of the tyre. 

“Even if the Yamaha rider’s race pace was extremely high and none of the other riders’ tyres show any signs of stress or wear, these types of episode clearly must not occur, so we will conduct an in-depth laboratory analysis of the three tyres with blistering to figure out what may have caused it.”

Razgatlioglu had reduced his deficit in the 2023 WorldSBK riders’ standings to 49 points after the Superpole Race in Most. The title was therefore still a long shot for the #54, but at the point of his crash - which brought to an end a long battle with championship leader and eventual Race 2 winner Alvaro Bautista - he was leading, the win was certainly possible, and the momentum in the championship was continuing to go in the Turkish rider’s direction.

Bautista’s victory and Razgatlioglu’s no-score means the gap between the two at the top of the championship is now 74 points with four rounds to go (assuming WorldSBK is able to find a replacement for the cancelled Argentinian round).

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