Razgatlioglu's manager "disappointed" with start to WSBK title defence
Toprak Razgatlioglu’s manager Kenan Sofuoglu is “disappointed” with the Turkish rider’s start to the 2022 World Superbike season, but is confident that he will bounce back at the next round in Estoril.
Reigning WSBK champion Razgatlioglu failed to score a victory in the opening two rounds of the year at Aragon and Assen last month, struggling to match the pace of both Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea and Ducati returnee Alvaro Bautista.
Razgatlioglu had already slipped 27 points off the championship lead going into the final race at Assen, where a crash with his 2021 arch-rival Rea forced both riders into retirement.
Now facing a daunting 45-point deficit in the riders’ standings to Bautista, Razgatlioglu needs a strong result in Portugal to put his championship challenge back on track and defend Yamaha’s first WSBK title in over a decade.
Razgatlioglu’s manager and five-time World Supersport champion Sofuoglu conceded that the 25-year-old’s results have fallen below expectations so far, but hopes the changes they have agreed on since then would yield the desired results.
“About the season, with Toprak, I can’t say we started the season as we wanted or as we expected,” Sofuoglu told the official WSBK website. “We are a little bit disappointed.
“Honestly, we sat together with Toprak, and we checked what we do, what we’ve done and the way of every single part of our life, training and mentality. I think we were not correct, and Toprak decided to make some changes.”
Razgatlioglu did not score a win until the ninth race of his title-winning 2021 campaign at Misano, where Pirelli introduced a new SCX qualifying tyre that suited the Yamaha rider better.
However, early evidence suggests that the competition this year is much tougher than in 2021, with Bautista in particular emerging as a more formidable rival than his predecessor Scott Redding on an improved Ducati bike.
Explaining the changes Razgatlioglu has made in the run up to the Estoril round on May 20-22, Sofuoglu said: “In general, every single practice, way of living, way of mentality, and I believe we will have a different Toprak at Estoril.
“I will be there to support Toprak because we have to win. There’s been six races and still he couldn’t win anything, and he is World Champion, we have to win. Now, we are building very well for the next round.”
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