Yamaha decries Kawasaki sour grapes, late decision in Razgatlioglu penalty row

Paul Denning calls out the FIM stewards for its late decision to strip Toprak Razgatlioglu of his WorldSBK Superpole Race win at Magny-Cours

Toprak Razgatlioglu - Pata Yamaha

The simmering tension of the 2021 WorldSBK Championship title fight is threatening to boil over amid an opinionated fallout amid Kawasaki and Yamaha over the decision to strip Toprak Razgatlioglu of his victory in the Superpole Race at Magny-Cours.

The Turk was originally credited with his first ever WorldSBK hat-trick - three wins over a single weekend - with a commanding performance in France, each time taking the fight to title rival Jonathan Rea and coming out on top in a straight fight.

However, a protest submitted by Kawasaki argued that Razgatlioglu had run off track in the final corner complex when wrestling the lead back off Rea following a final lap shuffle. KRT was successful in its argument, with Razgatlioglu demoted to second, promoting Rea to victory.

With video since emerging of Rea seemingly asking directly after the race for Kawasaki to look into his pass, Yamaha has reacted bitterly, decrying the late intervention (after the final race) as sour grapes in a year that could see the Ulsterman cede his grip on the crown he has held for six years.

“The protest after the Superpole Race was very disappointing,” commented Paul Denning, “as was the process of administrating the protest and the very late timing of the sanction notice, but in the end we know what we achieved, our competitors know what we achieved and we move on.”

However, KRT manager Guim Roda says the team was simply using precedent levelled at its WorldSSP 300 rider Ana Carrasco, who was penalised in a similar manner in an incident that saw her nudged off track.

“As an example, in Assen, Race Direction penalised Ana Carrasco on the last lap because somebody push her out of the track limits. This was unfortunate and also unlucky. Ana complained about this, but I said to her ‘a rule is rule and we must accept and be more clever next time’. 

“On the last lap of any race run under these rules it is very important to ride the limits but not to cross them… and one of the most important things to consider is not to go off the track. This part of the track at Magny-Cours, at the level Rea and Toprak are fighting, would give an advantage; small but still an advantage. 

“For me, it was enough to refer to the rules and make a comment to race direction. Ultimately the decision is not mine, It is FIM who consider independently, this is the same for everyone.”

Having come into the weekend level on points, Razgatlioglu’s trio of wins versus Rea’s brace of second places meant he was originally 13 points clear at the top, though this has now been reduced to seven points with five events remaining.