It was announced ahead of Misano that Toprak Razgatlioglu would switch from Yamaha to BMW for the 2024 season
The big news as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship paddock headed to the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” for the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round was that Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) would leave Yamaha at the end of the 2023 campaign and join the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team for the 2024 campaign. During the lead up to the Round, Razgatlioglu’s manager, Kenan Sofuoglu, spoke about the move and said he believed Razgatlioglu would be Champion with the German manufacturer.
After four seasons with Yamaha and 31 race wins, plus the 2021 title after a season-long showdown with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), Razgatlioglu will switch from Yamaha to BMW next season as he embarks on what he described as a ‘new challenge’ next year. It means he is switching from a race-winning package to a manufacturer who are looking to become regular podium and win contenders as they develop the M1000RR machine.
Explaining the decision to switch to BMW on Thursday at Misano, Razgatlioglu said: “I say if I stay in WorldSBK, I need a new challenge. This is good motivation for me, I’m feeling more than 100% motivated. First, I am happy I have signed with a new team. I see people say, ‘this is not a winning bike, this is not easy’. This motivates me more because I listen to some people and I feel more motivated now because now my dream is that, after the first win, I can just ride. It’s possible this is a winning bike. It’s a big dream for me and a big new challenge. It’s not easy, I know. WorldSBK is very fast. I’ll do my best like I did with Yamaha. I try my best in the next two seasons.”
Sofuoglu’s comments were put to Razgatlioglu with the 26-year-old aiming to become World Champion for two different manufacturers in WorldSBK, as well as looking to become the sixth rider to win with three different manufacturers in WorldSBK, having won races for both Kawasaki and Yamaha during his career.
Responding to Sofuoglu’s claim that he believes Razgatlioglu will be Champion with BMW, Razgatlioglu said: “Kenan and I always talk, especially before signing. We both said if I stay in WorldSBK, I’ll go to a different team. I’m very happy because he’s always giving me 100% motivation. This is a big dream for Kenan and for me. Next year and maybe also 2025, we don’t know, we are fighting for the Championship. I hope we win it! This is the big dream.”
The move generated plenty of intrigue from other riders on the grid, including current BMW rider Scott Redding, while Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director, also shared his thoughts, declaring that it was ‘very exciting’ for BMW and that his arrival will add ‘another level’ to BMW’s rider line-up. Bongers, however, did not disclose who Razgatlioglu’s teammate will be next season with the second seat at BMW still up for grabs.
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