Razgatlioglu and the Turkish school: how the new champion runs, aiming for MotoGP

Kenan Sofuoglu’s pupil interrupted the reign of Jonathan Rea and Kawasaki in the World Championship. A way to turn the page and make room for a new generation of pilots with “a knife between their teeth”

It took a talented and tough rider like Toprak Razgatlioglu to oust a Jonathan Rea emperor of the World Series derived from the SBK throne, champion continuously from 2015 to 2020. The exciting fight for the 2021 title has already ended in the race 1 of the last championship round of the season on the unprecedented Indonesian circuit of Mandalika where Toprak only needed second place behind the Northern Irishman (111th victory!) To take the crown. This result, far from obvious, is the result of an extraordinary year for the Razgatlioglu-Yamaha duo with 13 wins, 9 second places, 7 third places in front of the superb results of Rea-Kawasaki: 12 wins, 8 second places , 8 third places. Third wheel Redding-Ducati with 7 wins, 10 second places, 5 thirds.

razgatlioglu and rea

The two, different in age, pedigree, temperament, technique and driving tactics, on the track have substantially equalized each other, both honoring motorcycling. On a technical level, Yamaha proved to be the most competitive bike this year and Rea himself, a rider who does not seek excuses, criticized Dorna for not intervening to “limit” the power of the Yamaha R1, as he had previously done. for his Kawasaki and Ducati V4, “cutting” the revs / engine in the name of the show. In fact, the bike of the House of the three tuning forks was unstoppable this year: faster on the straight and out of corners, less wearing on the rear tire, therefore a more drivable bike, a fundamental element to give the rider confidence. This, above all, due to the great development work that has translated to the maximum the technical-design specificities of the R1 which has (also) the bursting order of its engines different from that of the Kawasaki and other manufacturers – the cross plane – with the limit of less power at the top but with the advantage of better traction control in the delivery of horses.

merit di land

The same higher thrust when exiting the corners then allows Yamaha (ditto for Ducati) to gain on opponents, even on the straight. But Yamaha has had an extraordinary rider such as Razgatlioglu, fast and aggressive but also constant, the only one who has really put Rea in difficulty in recent seasons, who has crashed four times this year, as never before. Rea, however, remains a “mister racer”, a rider who has never raised the white flag even though he is aware of the technical gap of his bike, especially in the restarts from the curves at low speed and in acceleration, limits due to the difficulty in effectively managing the “torque ”(Also for electronics problems) sacrificed to gain power and speed. However, now Razgatlioglu is on the altars: the Turkish ace is the new king of SBK. Rea, 35 on February 2, passes the scepter to Razgatlioglu, ten years younger, but he does it like a great gentleman, from the top of his class on and off the track, after having tried all of them to bring the record to seven. its titles. After six consecutive seasons marked by the Rea-Kawasaki duo, SBK needed fresh air, a change at the top. Someone like the Turkish Razgatlioglu, due to his characteristics as an assault rider also coming from a country historically with little motorcycling vocation, can contribute to shake up a championship that, although not devoid of competitive appeal, has long been looking for solutions regulations that are as innovative as they are questionable, to find “his” autonomous space, no longer as the B series of Motomondiali or the younger brother of MotoGP.

new sbk era?

It is a question of seeing how much the promoter of the series derivative championship, Dorna, the same as the World Championship, has an interest in “pushing” the SBK or keeping it in a bain-marie so as not to disturb the MotoGP, considered the “golden hen” of racing, a truly unique premier class of world motorcycling. But from the provisional calendar for next season just presented as a draft it is clear that normality is not yet there: it will begin in April at Motorland Aragon to close at the end of autumn with a trio outside Europe in November, with only one stop in Italy, in June in Misano. With Razgatlioglu world champion, Dorna is aiming for a return in full regalia of the SBK in Turkey (it competed in 2012 with the Infront-Flammini management) but here too it is all on the high seas, not only for the pandemic. With Razgatlioglu on the SBK world roof, Turkish motorcycling enters from the main door and in particular the “Sofuoglu school”, which had already demonstrated a certain qualitative consistency with a way of racing and preparing for racing that is already being discussed, because it is characterized by a way of understanding the competitive spirit on the track to say the least aggressive. “Toprak is very fast, but he drives without respect. It gets inside you without worrying about the consequences ”repeated Rea and Redding but also others already at the beginning of this season.

Turkish school

On the other hand, Mike Hailwood, a fair champion and great gentleman on and off the track who did not disdain the hard battle on the track, repeated: “If you just stay on the wheel of whoever precedes you, you will always end up behind and the others will win” . Here, you can say everything about Toprak Razgatlioglu but not that he is a “wheel-sucker”. It’s better that way. The young Turk is a talented driver who runs (metaphorically) with a bayonet in the barrel and a dagger between his teeth. Thus the third youngest ever Superbike champion is aiming for an encore in 2022 by taking the road that leads to MotoGP.

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Razgatlioglu and the Turkish school: how the new champion runs, aiming for MotoGP

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