Razgatlioglu ‘not a danger on track', refutes F1 champ Max Verstappen similarity

WorldSBK champ Toprak Razgatlioglu draws comparison to 'aggressive' F1 title winner Max Verstappen but plays down the notion he is a 'danger on track'

Toprak Razgatlioglu, Max Verstappen

The year 2021 was certainly the year we experienced a veritable changing of the guard in motorsport - Fabio Quartararo returned Yamaha to the top in MotoGP, Max Verstappen and Red Bull ended Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton’s long dominance of F1 and Toprak Razgatlioglu became the first rider other than Jonathan Rea to win the 2021 WorldSBK title since 2015.

All three performances had their outstanding merits, but the efforts of Razgatlioglu has in particular won the first Turkish WorldSBK Champion a dedicated fanbase around the world.

Indeed, it takes a special rider to penetrate the bulletproof consistency of one Rea but Razgatlioglu not only pushed the Kawasaki man to the limit, he also pushed him onto a new level of quality, out-foxing his rival with a frisky riding style that has been described as flamboyant, assertive and aggressive.

It’s a view Razgatlioglu actually agrees, with his unusually late braking, early on the gas style a crux for Rea to get his head around initially. However, when he did begin fighting back in the latter rounds, there were numerous incidents of the pair coming together.

To Rea’s credit, he never called Razgatlioglu out for being too aggressive, instead choosing to give as good as he got.

“It’s good because he’s a hard rider and like myself; sometimes you can’t complain too much about others because when you're on the receiving end of tough racing and you ride equally as tough then this happens,” Rea told Crash.net. 

"That’s the good thing about me and him and in a race. If we’re in a fighting situation he’s going to expect that I’m there and it’s the same when he’s behind me. I sort of know that there’s a pass on anywhere. 

“There’s a lot of races this year where I understood his mentality, his tactics a lot better, how he managed that race and that will help me when battling with him in the future."

Is Toprak Razgatlioglu the WorldSBK “Max Verstappen”?

It doesn’t take a genius to understand why Razgatlioglu has also been compared with new F1 champ Max Verstappen. 

Both are young, ambitious, unashamed and have broken dominant spells because they have brought something different and aggressive to the table.

It’s a similarity Razgatlioglu is also plainly aware of but one he ultimately rejects, because though he is active on track, he says he isn’t a ‘danger’ on it.

“Yes our riding (driving) is similar, but this year I have not had any accidents with other riders. We [Verstappen]  are both aggressive, or rather, some think we are, in my opinion not.

“ I always try to brake very late and open the throttle as soon as possible, I don’t think I am a danger on track.”

It’s a fair assertion. Though Scott Redding was angry with Razgatlioglu’s aggressive last lap pass in Most, the Turk has an excellent finishing record in WorldSBK, suffering only three falls all year, two of which were caused by contact with someone else and a technical issue. 

By contrast, Verstappen and Hamilton enjoyed numerous comings together over the course of what would be a memorable F1 season.