Razgatlioglu: “I hope we are fighting with Ducati… rear grip is better than before”

After two days testing last week, Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) rolled out the box on Friday for the Pirelli Catalunya Round in fine fettle and was immediately competitive. The #54 BMW was inside the top three for the majority of the day and stated that he’d found a step with rear grip but had inherited a front tyre drama instead – something he didn’t understand.

Setting 37 laps across both sessions, race pace was the order of the day as low-grip conditions always become a key factor at the Catalan venue. In FP1, Razgatlioglu’s longest stint was a seven-lap run with his times getting slower with each lap. He started with a 1’41.199s – the fastest lap of FP1 – before dropping to a 1’42.427s on his final representative lap in that run. The longest stint in FP2 was 11 laps, with a similar pattern to the times but over a longer period, albeit with his best time coming in the middle of that stint.

He started with remarkable consistency, setting four laps of 1’41.889s, 1’41.884s, 1’41.960s and 1’41.808s before dropping into the 1’42s. From here, the times stayed similar again but six tenths down on the first few laps, with the slowest coming again on his final lap – a 1’42.965s.

Discussing his Friday, the ‘El Turco’ said: “I was feeling some front tyre problem but we’ll try our best tomorrow. Now, the rear grip is better than before. I don’t understand that we improve with one tyre and then have a problem with the other! I hope we are fighting with Ducati but maybe the races will be different, and they drop a little bit.

His race pace was strong, but he’ll face competition for the rostrum and a potential victory. Nicolo Bulega (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and teammate Alvaro Bautista both have shown their pace for the weekend but the #54 will be hoping he can fight with them and build on his Tissot Superpole Race podium from Australia.

Discussing the fight at the front, Razgatlioglu said: “Perhaps with Alvaro, I’m very close but with Nicolo, I don’t know. I tried the new swingarm but maybe in FP3, we’ll put the old one as we’re still not sure. I feel the bike is different with the new one. If we improve tomorrow morning, maybe we’ll fight for the podium or even the win. The target is the podium; in the race, in the last five laps, if I am with Nicolo or Alvaro, I could be fighting for the win.”

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Source: WorldSBK.com

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