Toprak Razgatlioglu has completed his first laps on a MotoGP bike. At the Motorland Aragon circuit, the Pata Yamaha rider and reigning WorldSBK champion had 40 laps on the Yamaha M1 MotoGP machine, accompanying Yamaha test rider Cal Crutchlow at a private test.
When the test was first announced, it seemed like this may be a dress rehearsal for a full-time switch to MotoGP for the Turkish rider. But Razgatlioglu has been equivocal about a move to MotoGP. He has made it clear that he is very happy in WorldSBK, and was only willing to come to MotoGP if the circumstances were right.
Any chance of a move became much more difficult when RNF decided to switch from Yamaha to Aprilia for the 2023 MotoGP season and beyond. With only two Yamahas on the grid, and both Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo under contract to the factory squad for 2023, Razgatlioglu's first chance to move would be in 2024. That would give him time to have another test on the MotoGP bike, should he want it.
That may well be necessary. 40 laps and half a day is not really enough to understand the differences between a Michelin-shod MotoGP machine and a WorldSBK Yamaha on Pirellis. As Razgatlioglu is quoted as saying in the press release, the two bikes are very different, requiring a totally different approach to braking, accelerating, turning, and riding the bike generally. The next hint at Razgatlioglu's future will come if he and his manager, Kenan Sofuoglu, ask Yamaha for another test, and Yamaha offer him that opportunity.
Press release from Yamaha below:
Razgatlıoğlu Enjoys “Very Positive” Maiden Outing on Yamaha YZR-M1 at Aragón
Reigning FIM Superbike World Champion Toprak Razgatlıoğlu completed his first-ever outing on the Yamaha YZR-M1 during a one-day private MotoGP test at the MotorLand Aragón circuit today.
After taking his first WorldSBK victory of the 2022 campaign at Misano, the Turkish rider switched from his Yamaha R1 to the YZR-M1, riding 40 laps of the Teruel venue in sweltering conditions. The long straight between Turns 15 and 16, together with a combination of fast turns and slower sections around the 5.078 km MotorLand Aragón circuit, allowed Razgatlıoğlu to experience all aspects of the Yamaha YZR-M1’s performance.
The 25-year-old began the day with a 12-lap run to build up an understanding of the bike and the Michelin tyres, completing shorter runs thereafter, as the Yamaha MotoGP Test Team made set-up adjustments to the bike based on Razgatlıoğlu’s feedback and analysis of the data.
On hand to help Razgatlıoğlu gain confidence and speed on the Yamaha YZR-M1 was Yamaha MotoGP Test Rider Cal Crutchlow, whose lap times the 2021 WorldSBK champion used as a benchmark during the test.
Unfortunately, the test was cut short due to a heavy rain shower ahead of the late afternoon session, which didn’t allow Razgatlıoğlu the chance to further improve on his promising early pace.
“This was my first day on the Yamaha M1 MotoGP bike and it felt completely different to my R1. More horsepower, different electronics, seamless gearbox, all of which is completely new for me. With every lap I learned more, because after the world superbike it’s not so easy to adapt to the MotoGP machine. Fortunately, I had Cal Crutchlow on hand to offer advice and he was able to help me a lot. The bike feels good, especially on the straight where it’s very fast, and it was interesting to experience the carbon brakes. The conditions were really hot today, so we stuck to doing five or six lap runs only after the initial run of 12 laps to get a first feeling for the bike. When I watch the MotoGP bikes on television here at Aragon you can see it is a bit bumpy, and I can feel it here today. It’s not so bad, you have to keep the gas open to ride through the bumps, because if you close then it becomes more unstable. Overall, a very positive test, even if it was cut short by rain this afternoon, which meant I didn’t get quite as many laps in as I’d have liked. I really enjoyed riding the MotoGP bike, so many thanks to Yamaha for allowing me this opportunity.”