With all eyes on a potential move to MotoGP™ for Toprak Razgatlioglu in 2023, Paul Denning shed some light on the matter as well as confirming new parts for the Estoril Round for the team
Reigning World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) will be looking to get his title challenge back on track this weekend at Estoril, as he’s 45 points down on Championship leader Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati). A crash for Razgatlioglu and arch-rival Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) last time out at Assen means that the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship race was blown wide open. However, looking to the weekend ahead, Pata Yamaha boss Paul Denning is confident of hard work behind the scenes paying dividends this weekend.
“We’ve not tested since Assen but there’s been a huge amount of work behind the scenes trying to give both riders something a little bit extra to play with,” began Denning. “The performances at Aragon and Assen were very, very close to the win, big improvements on last year but not quite enough to win. There’s been a lot of work behind the scenes and a reasonable about of new stuff, particularly on Toprak’s side, trying to help him take another step, in terms of the balance of the bike. From one exit, it looks OK, but this is one of his favourite tracks and the big measurement comes later in the weekend. We’ve seen always Toprak with his natural talent, super-fast straight away, but when Alvaro Bautista and Jonathan Rea and their teams improve the bikes and improve the package and they can use all the performance, then it becomes a lot more challenging.”
Talking about the potential move across to MotoGP™ and when asked about being worried at the prospect of losing the rider, Denning commented: “No, not really. He’s a Yamaha contracted rider and if Yamaha want him in MotoGP™, it’d be a negative in 2023 for this particular team but maybe a huge positive for WorldSBK and Yamaha’s rider development programme. Like all things, there’s going to be pros and cons. From a selfish point of view, we hope he’s here with us again next year.”
Finally, Denning spoke of the clash at Assen with Jonathan Rea, and didn’t mince his words: “They were both p****d off, which is going to happen when you end up on the deck. They both saw it differently. In the end, it would’ve been better for both of them if it was avoided. They’re both grown up lads and will move on.”
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