The Turkish star spent four seasons at Pata Yamaha and took 37 wins for the team, as well as becoming only their second World Champion…
With Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) departing his current team for a new challenge at the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, we look at some of the key moments from his four seasons at the team. From the highs of winning his first race, to the title in 2021 and the lows of last-corner heartbreak, the Turkish star’s time at Yamaha has been an incredible journey from start to finish.
After leaving Kawasaki Puccetti Racing at the end of 2019, the Turk linked up with Pata Yamaha for the first time at a post-season Aragon test to try his new bike for the first time. Discussing it at the time, he said: “For me, it’s a new team and a new bike. It’s not easy because I’m here for the first time in this team. My first time, and in wet conditions, I’m happy because I feel the bike is incredible with a lot of grip.”
POTENTIAL ON SHOW: starting and ending the year with wins
The first race in 2020 was at Phillip Island, a circuit that’s challenging even for the best. In Race 1 in Australia, the #54 was on top of the world Down Under as he claimed a thrilling race in one of the closest finishes ever. It was an inconsistent year, but he ended it back on top with two wins at the Circuito Estoril, ensuring he started and ended his year in the best possible way. Two wins in Portugal meant he was in good shape for 2021, which would prove to be a historic season for rider and team.
Razgatlioglu started the 2021 season with seven podiums in the first nine races, but his first win didn’t come until the ninth outing at Misano. After finishing second to Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in both Race 1 and the Superpole Race, the #54 was determined to add his name to the winners’ list. The early battle was between Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) and Rinaldi, but the Turk stayed in contention and barrelled his way past the pair of them for his first win of the year.
A new track joined the WorldSBK calendar in 2021 with the Autodrom Most making its debut. Razgatlioglu adapted quickly to the venue, but it was Race 1 where the headlines were made. Trailing Scott Redding, then at Ducati, on the final lap, the Yamaha rider first looked to make a move in the first half of the lap. He ran wide, but that didn’t deter him. He closed the gap again before making the race-winning overtake at the penultimate corner in one of the best conclusions.
Their rivalry was fully ignited by this point as Razgatlioglu and Rea battled hard in Race 1 at Portimao on his way to the title. The Turkish star got the holeshot, but Rea bundled through in the closing stages of the lap. The pair were inseparable, and joined by Redding, throughout until Rea’s crash just after he overtook the #45 with 16 laps to go. From there, it was a fight between the #54 and Redding for victory, with the Turk able to come out on top at a crucial point of their title fight.
After a stunning season, the title would be decided at the new Mandalika circuit. Razgatlioglu and Rea were in contention heading into the season finale, with the Turkish superstar in the driving seat. Rain fell on Saturday, with Race 1 moved to Sunday, but the schedule disruption didn’t stop Yamaha from wrapping up three titles. Don’t forget, you can relive his stunning title win with the ‘The Final Stunt’.
THE FIRST HAT-TRICKS: Donington Park and Mandalika memories
Despite all his success, one thing was missing from Razgatlioglu’s locker: a hat-trick. He had come close on a few occasions but was denied by his rivals. That all changed at Donington Park in 2022. In a similar vein to the London buses cliché, his first win came at Misano, before three followed in quick succession at Donington. From third on the grid, he was able to win all three races. He didn’t have to wait as long for his second hat-trick as he did for his first, with Mandalika another special weekend for the Turk. He took pole position, by almost a second, before winning all three races relatively unchallenged.
The 2023 season had seen Razgatlioglu’s wins dry up a bit, although he was on the podium in 33 races out of 36. Most, famous for other Razgatlioglu battles, was the scene of one of the iconic moments of the season. Razgatlioglu and Bautista were fighting hard but the Yamaha crashed out of Race 2 after a technical issue; it had huge implications in the Championship fight, as Bautista gained 25 points rather than potentially losing or gaining five.
Most was a stunning battle, but Portimao took it up a notch. The Superpole Race gave a glimpse of what was to come, but Race 2 was where the fight was turned up. 20 laps were completed, and the win was decided on the run to the line: Bautista coming out on top despite Razgatlioglu’s valiant display. He showed his full emotions right after he crossed the line as he hit his fuel tank, with everyone praising both riders for the show they created.
A few weeks later, and their fight resumed. If Portimao was close, then Jerez was even closer. For 20 laps, nothing could separate the duo as Bautista went inside and outside, and Razgatlioglu did the same to maintain the lead. The #54 crossed the line in first, but a track limits penalty demoted him behind Bautista. An unfortunate way to bow out of Yamaha, but the on-track battle was a fitting way to close the 2023 season.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: epic starts, rivalries and more
10 moments would not be enough to cover his Yamaha career, and it would be amiss not to mention his start at Donington Park in 2021. A circuit that is famed for epic launches thanks to Ayrton Senna, he produced one of his own in Race 1 to go from 13th to 2nd in just a lap and a bit. At Magny-Cours in 2021, Razgatlioglu crossed the line first in the Superpole Race, but a track limits infringement dropped him behind his rival and denied him a hat-trick. At Assen in 2022, his rivalry with Rea hit boiling point when the pair collided at Turn 1 in Race 2. The first win came of 2023 came at Mandalika in the Superpole Race as he took advantage of Bautista crashing out to claim his first win of the season. Plus, to end on a Stoprak note, there’s THAT one at Most that seemed to go on forever.
RAZGATLIOGLU’S YAMAHA STATS: breaking all sorts of manufacturer records
Fastest laps: 30
Front row starts: 31
Total points: 1,773
Riders' Championships: 1
Relive Razgatlioglu’s best Yamaha moments using the WorldSBK VideoPass!