One of WorldSBK’s biggest rider market moves ever seen, Toprak Razgatlioglu has had all the spotlight on him on Thursday before Misano action fires up
The 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is ready for the fifth round of the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship from the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” and the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round. After the bombshell announcement that Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) will part ways with Yamaha at the end of 2023 in search of a “big, new challenge” with BMW, star riders have had their say on the move.
THE TITANIC TRIO BUT DIFFERENT: Bautista and Rea on their main rival’s big move
Long-time rival Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was very positive about Toprak’s move to BMW, stating: “I think Toprak’s move is an exciting one for everybody; for the Championship and Toprak. You can see with the evolution of the bike and how many new bikes they’re bringing out in a short space of time that they’re a manufacturer that’s very dedicated to being competitive. Of course, Toprak’s an incredible talent and super-fast so maybe he’s the missing link to put BMW at the front. I’m sure it’s going to be a very exciting challenge for him.”
Reigning World Champion Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) commented that his nearest title rival ‘wasn’t crazy’ in his switch to a new manufacturer: “It’s difficult to say something from the outside but what I say from the outside, but I don’t think it’s a crazy idea to switch team. Toprak knows the Yamaha very well and he knows his potential very well. BMW are working to hard to be competitive and maybe they want to be more competitive, so the fact that they want to have Toprak is a good signal that they want to fight for victories. They get one of the best riders in the Championship. They’ll put a lot of effort to have a competitive bike; with this kind of rider, if something isn’t working, it’s for the bike and the team because without doubt, Toprak’s ready to fight for victories.”
MIXED EMOTIONS: current BMW riders on Toprak joining the family in 2024
Current ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team rider Scott Redding was less positive about the move, and seemingly left him a bit puzzled: “I don’t know, honestly. It was quite a surprise to me and everybody. I don’t know what he can bring. It’s quite a mystery to me especially when I look at the riding style he has, it’s quite interesting. Time will tell. Not too much I can really say.”
Having made the switch from Yamaha to BMW for 2023, Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) gave insight into how he thinks the move will go: “About what Toprak can bring to the project, it speaks volumes. We’re making progress with the bike and if Toprak sees it, then it’s pretty obvious we’re going in a good way. He’s ridden a couple of different bikes but he’s a solid rider and has so much talent. I’m curious to hear what we says about it, what he likes and doesn’t. For me, it wasn’t that big of a challenge it seems like. I was impressed with how the front end felt, which will be good for Toprak as he’s always on the front wheel! It’s going to be a rocket ship for him. The amount of power that the bike has compared to the Yamaha is pretty impressive. When you get on the straight and open the thing up… I think he’ll like that.”
Tom Sykes, Redding’s teammate until full-time rider Michael van der Mark is back from injury, was intrigued by the move and is ready for the fireworks: “It’s a very big signing! It’s a bit exciting! We know Toprak and he’s a World Champion. It will be very interesting. For myself inside BMW, for the first two seasons, I had my own expectation and belief about where the project will go. I think Toprak and Kenan have the same expectations and for this, I wish Toprak all the best of luck, he’s such a nice guy. BMW are always trying to improve, as is everyone else, so we’ll see where this project goes with them together.”
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