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Razgatlioglu "very surprised" with Race 2 woes amid win drought

Toprak Razgatlioglu says he was “very surprised” to struggle for pace in the final race at Estoril, as he continues to chase a first win of the 2022 World Superbike season.

Toprak Razgatlioglu, Pata Yamaha WorldSBK

Razgatlioglu fought for victory in both the opening full-distance race and the Superpole contest at the Portuguese venue, losing out on both occasions on the final lap in close duels with Alvaro Bautista and Jonathan Rea respectively.

However, after engaging in an early battle for the lead in Sunday’s final race, the Yamaha rider could no longer contend with either Rea’s Kawasaki or the Ducati of Bautista, finishing more than four seconds adrift of the pair in third.

Razgatlioglu said he had no explanation as to why his rear tyre was sliding less than halfway through the 22-lap contest, having tried to preserve his soft-compound SCX rubber from the very beginning of the race.

“In Race 2 we started good, I was just following my plan,” he said. “I kept the rear tyre for the last laps. But I was very surprised that after 10 laps I was feeling too much spin and on the last corner I would lose a lot of time. 

“On the last corner I was not very good at the exit because the [rear tyre was] spinning. On the [rest of the lap] I was going [closer to the front], but again [at the] same corner I would go backwards.

“I'm not really happy because in this race I was not fighting for the win, I was just fighting for third position. 

“I don't know, maybe the tyre [was the] problem because Johnny used the same tyre, Alvaro used the same tyre, we [all] used the SCX tyre.“

On the final lap of Sunday’s Superpole race, Razgatlioglu had a major moment going into the chicane as he defended the lead from the chasing Kawasaki of Rea.

Although the error allowed Rea to sneak through and claim the first of his two wins at Estoril, Razgatlioglu was able to save himself from falling off the bike and bag valuable points for second position.

“We train with Kenan on his karting track, it’s a small track and I’m always losing the front there and I try to pick it up!” he told the WSBK website. “Only this time, the bike was a bit heavier! I’m always watching Marc Marquez, it’s the same style! 

“I remember 2020 at Jerez, I tried to pick up the bike but I couldn’t, so I had a small crash. However, today I said, ‘I need to pick it up!’ because I’m fighting! I’m very happy, we take good points and second is better than a crash. it was a strange weekend!”

 

Razgatlioglu has failed to score a win in the opening three rounds of the season, a crash with Rea in the final race at Assen earlier this month not aiding his chances of defending the title.

The Turkish rider has already slipped 51 points off championship leader Bautista, with Rea also 35 points clear of him in the standings.

Razgatlioglu made a similarly low-key start to the 2021 season, not winning a race until the end of the third round at Misano as Rea and then-Ducati rider Scott Redding shared the early spoils.

With the Italian venue next up on the 2022 calendar, the 25-year-old is hoping that he will finally be able to end his victory drought in WSBK.

“Next round is Misano, I like that track,” he said. “We fought for the win [at Estoril], I will try my best again. Just [in] Race 2 [I was struggling]. But also in the short race I did not crash, I took good points.

“I was very close to first position but maybe Misano like last year, [I will score my] first win. Last year [I had my] first win in Misano. This year I try again.”

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