A double win and leadership of the SBK championship. Not a bad end to the British race weekend for Toprak Razgatlioglu, Pata Yamaha with Brixx rider and main rival to six-time champion Johnny Rea. The pair have swapped places in the standings following this fourth round.
The Turk leads, while the Northern Irishman is forced to play chase. This was momentarily the case at Phillip Island in 2020 when number 54 won the first race of the weekend, while the number 1 rider started out in the worst possible way, in the gravel.
But the Cannibal quickly turned things around, going on to win yet another title. Will that be the case again this season, or has the 24-year old Turk got what it takes? We’ll have some initial answers already at Assen – a track where Johnny has also won with the Honda in the past. But for now, the question is another.
The MotoGP train passes only once and not for everyone
Sofuoglu wants Toprak to win in SBK, something Toprak wants too. This is the Turk’s aim, something he has clearly stated and something that the contract renewal with Yamaha further confirms. Another two years in the production-derived paddock then, and one clear goal.
To win. And that’s it. Then perhaps the focus will move to other things (we stress the ‘perhaps’ in all this). But what more might there be, after SBK? The ultimate goal is MotoGP, a paddock that Razgatlioglu has already come close to reaching.
Imagine this then, with one eye on the standings… If Razga were to win the title this year – aboard the R1 that, according to his contract, he’ll be riding for another two seasons – what would he do? Stay where he is or look around for an alternative? Essentially, if he’s already able to make himself and Kenan happy this year, would Toprak make the move to MotoGP or would this remain a hypothesis?
Translated by Heather Watson