Those first feelings are bagged for Toprak, who grinned brightly after just a handful of laps with an early start to testing
The moment has finally arrived; 2021 WorldSBK Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) got to try the BMW M 1000 RR for the first time and he was overjoyed with the first impressions. Despite a mechanical issue after just two laps, the smile said it all for Razgatlioglu, who described the sensation of the power, the braking, the turning and the feeling within the team. It was originally planned that Razgatlioglu would test on Monday, 4th December but with unpredictable weather coming, he and Shaun Muir’s team decided to get the ball rolling with a half a day of testing on Sunday.
“IT’S VERY POSITIVE… INSIDE THE TEAM, MY FEELING IS VERY WARM” – Toprak talks
Beginning in his usual humorous fashion, the #54 was relieved to finally try the bike: “First, I say, finally! We were waiting for my contract to finish but finally, I'm riding a BMW. For me, it's very positive, I like hard braking but the engine braking was working a lot. Inside the team, my feeling is very warm and everyone is a very good person, so I'm happy for this. The first day is done but I think the total was only 11 laps but it was important to have a feeling. The first ride was very good and positive.
“We tried to put my setup but today, we didn't start it really because the bike wasn't ready. We used half a day from 12pm. We had a problem and everyone said it was the engine but actually it was an oil problem. I lost time due to that but my last run was very positive as I rode eight laps. I learnt the bike as both this and my old one are different. I'm very happy as every lap I'm improving and learning the bike's style. I need my style but in the slow corners, I feel better now.”
CAREER RECAP: BMW the third manufacturer for ‘El Turco’
Starting his WorldSBK career with Kawasaki – coincidentally with a first test at Portimao in 2017 – Razgatlioglu was a podium finisher in his first season in 2018, before becoming a race winner in 2019. He moved to the factory Yamaha team in 2020 where he won his first-ever race for them, whilst in 2021, he stopped Jonathan Rea and Kawasaki’s reign in the Championship, taking the crown. In 2022 and 2023, valiant efforts left him just short of Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), with a new challenge needed for the #54, thus his switch to BMW. However, one hot topic was the power of the BMW, which features engine upgrades for 2024.
“I FELT UNBELIEVABLE POWER” – the smile said it all…
“On the first lap, I was just smiling,” resumed a still-smiling Razgatlioglu. “Especially on the corner exit. I know my old bike very well after 4 years but on the exit of the last corner, I felt unbelievable power and over the hill, it was still going. This bike keeps getting faster. I had to adapt the braking at the first corner because I was trying it like I had before but I stopped a lot. Also, after the problem at Turn 1, there was oil on the left side of the track so we used the middle. This wasn't easy for me to turn into Turn 1. Anyway, every lap I was getting better, understanding the bike and the traction. The throttle connection is much better. I'm very happy and we have many parts to try.”
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