MESSAGE SENT: Razgatlioglu warns rivals BMW “aren’t far away” after “very positive” Portimao test

Although running was limited at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve for Toprak Razgatlioglu’s debut with the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, the #54 was able to give his first thoughts on the test and the BMW M 1000 RR machine. After Monday’s action concluded – which turned out to be his second day on the bike rather than first as initially planned – the 2021 Champion reviewed his test, explained the main differences between the Yamaha and BMW machines and where he would like to improve ahead of a second test at Jerez this week as well as sending a menacing message to his rivals.

TEST IN REVIEW: “Positive… I hope for dry conditions at Jerez to try the other parts”

Monday turned out to be the Turkish star’s second day on the bike after getting a few laps in on Sunday. Reviewing his second day, where his running was still limited, Razgatlioglu said: “Today we are riding but not in fully dry conditions. In general, I’m feeling happy because it was a very positive test. I’m feeling like the bike is much better because, on Sunday, I rode the bike for the first time but only 11 laps. Today, we changed something, and the feeling is very good. I had a strange crash at Turn 5. I tried hard braking, the rear came up, went down and after it started sliding a lot. I crashed on the left side but not a big crash. After, I’m riding again to make sure I understand the bike. We did a very good lap time with these track conditions. I enjoyed it. I didn’t do many laps; 19 on Monday and 11 on Sunday. We are learning. This bike, after four years in blue, is completely different. I’m starting to adapt. I felt the front was much better than before and especially the engine braking is unbelievable. We used a different map. Finally I feel the engine brake! Very positive. We need more laps with this bike for the setup because we have many parts, but we don’t have the time to try them. I hope for dry conditions at Jerez to try the other parts.”

THE MAIN DIFFERENCES: “Engine brake is unbelievable… the bike is very fast on the straight!”

BMW are the third manufacturer Razgatlioglu has ridden for, having made his debut with Kawasaki and spent two seasons on the ZX-10RR for the Kawasaki Puccetti Racing outfit, before switching to the Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK squad from 2020 to 2023; claiming the 2021 title. After two days of limited running under his belt, the Turk explained the differences between his old Yamaha YZF-R1 machine and his new M 1000 RR bike

He said: “The biggest difference is the engine brake is unbelievable and also the other biggest difference is the bike is very fast on the straight. This is good because it’s the first time I’m feeling power. I’m very happy about this. I don’t know about the aero but maybe I’m feeling it on the last corner exit, going uphill. I’m feeling the bike isn’t wheelieing but maybe this is helping; I don’t really understand it. I’m just focused on entering the corner and acceleration. Maybe I need more laps to understand the wings. I think it’s helping through the exit of the last corner. With the Yamaha, I was always trying to have more lean because of the wheelie but with the BMW, I’m not fighting. On the corner exit, I’m feeling power and, after the hill, I’m feeling power still; the bike’s accelerating more. Under braking for Turn 1, I’m also happy now because I start to lean, I feel the engine brake a lot and now it’s a very positive test. I need more laps. I tried my best and explain the bike, explain some problems. We are immediately improving. I need more time.”

THE NEXT STEPS: Jerez awaits, what will Razgatlioglu work on?

After Portimao, the factory BMW squad head to Jerez for two more days of testing at the Spanish venue on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, where both rider and team will hope for better conditions to get more milage under their belts. Despite the limited running, the #54 was able to explain where he would like to find some potential improvements as he gets set for a 2024 campaign on the German manufacturer’s bike.

Expanding on where he will aim for gains, the 27-year-old said: “It’s not possible to comment on this today because everywhere was wet. We did good lap times, but fast lap times were impossible because of the weather. It was my first time riding and I didn’t understand the bike. Today, we used a different setup and I’m happier, but the track conditions weren’t good, and I didn’t push for a good lap time. We didn’t use the softer tyres. In general, I’m happy. If I’m riding the track on good conditions, I think I’ll do a good lap time because the front feeling when I enter the corner is much better. The traction’s working very well. I have more power. Maybe we need to improve turning. It looks like it’s okay but I’m not trying to push hard because everywhere is wet.”

WARNING SENT: already aiming high

After so few laps on the bike, you could forgive a rider for being a bit coy about the potential of the rider and bike package. However, Razgatlioglu was not as he fired a warning shot to his rivals: “We are not far away. I’ll say just this. We are coming.”

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