The 2021 World Champion’s contract with Yamaha expires at the end of the season and Razgatlioglu will leave at the end of his current contract
There are several riders whose contracts expire at the end of the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship and one of these is Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK). After four seasons with the Japanese manufacturer, Razgatlioglu will leave Yamaha at the end of the 2023 campaign for a new challenge although his destination is yet to be confirmed. Razgatlioglu claimed the 2021 title to become Yamaha’s first World Champion in WorldSBK since 2009 when Ben Spies claimed the title.
A SUCCESSFUL PARTNERSHIP: the story from 2020 to the present day
Razgatlioglu moved to Yamaha for the 2020 campaign and made an instant impact on the Yamaha YZF-R1 machine with victory in Race 1 at Phillip Island, his first race at Yamaha. He finished his 2020 campaign with two more wins at the Circuito Estoril to end his campaign on a high and this spurred him onto a title-winning 2021 campaign. 13 wins and 29 podiums in total came from 37 races in 2021 as he beat Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) in a thrilling-season long fight to end the Ulsterman’s streak of titles.
His form continued into the 2022 campaign and he ended the year with more victories, 14, than he did in his title-winning season but ultimately finished in second place behind Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati). In 2022, he made history by becoming the rider with the most wins for Yamaha by passing the total held by Noriyuki Haga who secured 27 wins for Yamaha during his WorldSBK career. Razgatlioglu has 11 podiums from 12 races so far in the 2023 campaign, including one win at Mandalika in the Tissot Superpole Race.
In total, Razgatlioglu has 31 wins with Yamaha and 47 further podium finishes with the R1 machine to date while he has also had two MotoGP™ tests with Yamaha. He will leave the factory as their second World Champion in WorldSBK from when he helped Yamaha win the Riders’, Teams’ and Manufacturers’ Championships in 2021, becoming the first rider since Ben Spies in 2009 to win the WorldSBK title on a Yamaha, bringing to an end a successful four-year partnership between Razgatlioglu and Yamaha.
Prior to his time with Yamaha, Razgatlioglu spent two seasons with Kawasaki machinery at the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team. He claimed 15 podiums across two campaigns with the ZX-10RR machine with his first in his rookie season coming at Donington Park. His first wins came a year later at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours when he won from 16th on the grid in both Race 1 and the Tissot Superpole Race.
RAZGATLIOGLU SAYS: “If I am to stay in WorldSBK then I need a new target, a new ambition”
26-year-old Razgatlioglu, who is also a STK600 title winner and STK1000 runner-up, will leave Yamaha at the end of the current campaign as he seeks a new challenge after four seasons with the Yamaha YZF-R1 machine. Both Yamaha and Razgatlioglu will still aim to fight for the title in the 2023 season although they find themselves trailing Bautista by 69 points in the Riders’ Championship standings.
Discussing the announcement, Razgatlioglu said: “I want to say to the whole Yamaha family a very big thank you for the love and respect they have shown me. To win the World Championship was my dream when I signed with Yamaha, and we reached that goal together. For next season I feel I need a new challenge and while there was an opportunity in MotoGP™, I didn’t feel the same connection with the MotoGP™ bike that I have with the superbike. But if I am to stay in WorldSBK then I need a new target, a new ambition. I am sorry to leave Yamaha, both the brand and the people, as we have a very good relationship, but change is part of any sport and normal for any professional. So, a big thank you to Yamaha Motor Company, Yamaha Motor Europe, Yamaha Motor Turkiye, the Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK team and especially to my crew, who have all worked so hard for me.”
DOSOLI SAYS: “We made what we felt was an offer that properly reflected Toprak’s value as a rider”
Razgatlioglu’s future had been up for debate with his contract expiring at the end of the 2023 season, after he signed a two-year deal to cover the 2022 and 2023 seasons previously. With his future now lying away from Yamaha, Andrea Dosoli, Road Racing Manager at Yamaha Motor Europe, said: “We will be sorry to see Toprak leave Yamaha at the end of this season. We wanted to continue what has been an incredibly successful partnership, with the obvious highlight being the triple crown of rider, manufacturer, and team world titles that we won together in 2021. We made what we felt was an offer that properly reflected Toprak’s value as a rider and an ambassador for Yamaha, as well as the competitiveness of our racing package and our racing strategy within the WorldSBK platform.
“However, as the negotiations progressed it became apparent to both parties that Toprak is motivated to embrace a new challenge in 2024 and we respect his decision. Although our paths will diverge at the end of the year, we are now fully focused on the battle for the 2023 WorldSBK title, which resumes shortly at Misano. Finally, I would like to thank Toprak on behalf of Yamaha but also personally, for his invaluable contribution to our WorldSBK project. His first World Championship title in 2021 was a just reward for him but also for all the people who, since we returned to WorldSBK in 2016, have worked so hard to make this project a success. It is a memory that everyone at Yamaha will cherish. We wish Toprak every success for the future but, for now, we have a job to finish.”
Can Razgatlioglu end his final year with Yamaha on a high? Find out using the WorldSBK VideoPass!