"My feeling with the bike is better, so I ride much better" – is 2021 Razgatlioglu back?

Saturday, 16 July 2022 14:05 GMT

The reigning Champion claimed his first full-length win of the season in style at Donington Park

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) ended his win drought last time out at Misano, and at Donington Park for the Prosecco DOC UK Round he claimed his first full-length race in the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship in Race 1. Razgatlioglu took the lead into Turn 1 on Lap 1 and from there did not look back as he won by more than six seconds ahead of his rivals.

Razgatlioglu started the race from third place but, as seen so often in 2022, was able to get the holeshot and moved into the lead at Turn 1 on the opening lap of 23. While his rivals were battling behind, he was able to extend his gap at the front and won by more than six seconds although the gap had been above seven prior to the last lap; with Razgatlioglu performing his traditional stoppie move as he took the chequered flag.

In terms of the Championship standings, Razgatlioglu came into the UK Round 79 points down on leader Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) but that gap fell to 54 points in Race 1 after the Spanish rider crashed out of the race from second place; with all three riders in the title fight now recording at least one non-score from the first 13 races of 2022.

Discussing whether Saturday’s performance was a return of Razgatlioglu seen in 2021, the reigning Champion said: “Today, I ride relaxed. This year, the first races, I’m not riding relaxed; I’m always feeling stressed. This is the first time I ride relaxed like last year. My feeling with the bike is better, so I ride much better. It was an unbelievable race because I had a seven seconds over Jonny. I saw this and, at the finish line, I tried a stoppie again. Today I’m really happy. We tried to find the setup for the race.”

Donington has traditionally been a happy hunting ground for Razgatlioglu with the 2021 Champion claiming his first WorldSBK podium at the historic circuit back in 2018, while he also won Race 1 and Race 2 at Donington in 2021 on his way to claiming the World Championship last season. With two races on Sunday and conditions expected to get even hotter, will Razgatlioglu be able to repeat his 2021 double in 2022?

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