This Is Toprak taking it ‘steady’ aboard an old two-stroke Yamaha race bike

Yahama let WSBK ace Toprak Razgatlıoğlu have a go on a replica of Steve Baker’s 1977 YZR750, and he didn’t hang about

Toprak riding a YZR 750

A few weeks ago at a Yamaha Racing Heritage Club event, Toprak was lent the bike and told to “take it steady” - but of course, he didn’t listen. 

We could have saved our breath because, well, Toprak!” the description of this newly uploaded video from Yamaha Racing’s YouTube channel notes. The Yamaha YZR750 0W31 was a replica of the bike Steve Baker used to win the 1977 Formula 750 World Championship in dominant fashion, and Toprak needed barely any time at all to get on terms with it around Mugello, despite the typically peaky power delivery of a two-stroke. 

The Turkish rider, who’s joining BMW from the 2024 World Superbike Season onwards, was “flat to the tank on the straight” during the first lap. It’ll be a vastly different riding experience to the R1 he’s using to contest the 2023 WSBK season - in which he currently lies second - but that didn’t seem to hold him back. The immediate pace, the screaming two-stroke motor - it all makes for entertaining viewing, to the point where we wish there was a little more runtime. 

While we’re only just seeing this video now, the event happened back on 21-22 July at the famed, 3.2-mile Italian circuit. It was the bash’s second year in existence, and was a particularly significant one, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the TZ350 and the 25th birthday of the R1 superbike. But rather than bake a cake, Yamaha instead used the event to unveil the R1 GYTR Pro 25th Anniversary

During the weekend, Toprak wasn’t the only current racing star lent some two-stroke machinery of yesteryear. Niccolò Canepa also put in some hot laps on Eddie Lawson’s 0W81 YZR 500. Again, it would have been a completely different animal to the four-stroke modern racers he’s used to, but that didn’t seem to put him off one bit.