Razgatlioglu’s “50/50” BMW debut: podium pace and a plume of smoke on Sunday

It was a return to the podium for BMW and 2021 World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), as he stormed to P3 in the Tissot Superpole Race at Phillip Island. However, Race 2 didn’t bring the same triumph as he suffered an engine issue on Lap 3, with his BMW M 1000 RR coming to rest in a huge cloud of smoke.

The Superpole Race was a fierce battle and with just ten laps and no mandatory pit-stop, it was going to be a corker from lights out until the end. Fighting hard in the podium positions, ‘El Turco’ came up against Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), his main title rival over the last two seasons, on the final lap but had track position. Unlike in the Sunday races at Portimao last season when the Turkish star led out of the final corner only to be pipped on the run to the line by the power of the Ducati, he held on with the BMW M 1000 RR holding its own against a 6kg-heavier Ducati, with the irony not lost for either. Race 2 didn’t replicate the success though as Razgatlioglu suffered a massive engine failure with a plume of smoke billowing from his machine on Lap 3 at Turn 9. He was OK and able to park his bike safely but it was a costly result.

“It’s not easy to say; I’m really sad because I didn’t expect the engine problem,” said Razgatlioglu, with BMW having experienced numerous technical issues across the last two seasons. “In Race 2, I said, ‘this is the first time that I’m riding the bike’ because I’m always trying to save the rear tyre. I started and passed Lowes and started going forwards but then the engine problem came. This is racing and for the first weekend of the season, in general, I’m not really happy, 50/50. I had the podium but in Race 2, I was ready to fight for the win. I was just watching it instead but in Barcelona, we need to comeback stronger.”

In his first-ever test for BMW back in December at Portimao, the 27-year-old managed three laps on the bike on his first run before a similar engine issue occurred, with a big cloud of smoking likewise being seen. However, despite this, a return to the podium ends BMW’s 533-day wait for a top three placing in WorldSBK. Two top five finishes and a DNF leave him eighth in the standings on 18 points.

Continuing to talk about his first weekend of racing in comparison to extensive testing, Razgatlioglu said: “Testing and race weekends are totally different and the grip changes. In the races, we learnt a lot as we got race data and it’s good for work. Phillip Island is different to the ones in Europe. It’s not possible to say if we’re learning 100% but we’ll see in Barcelona but it’s a hard track like here. We’ll start at Assen and other circuits but we’re not bad. Every race weekend, we’re coming step-by-step. I am focussed on the second round, working a lot and I am sure the team are too. I am focussed on race pace and rear tyres get worn like here. We need a good setup for the long-distance race but it’s not possible to say before we ride. We’ll see in Catalunya.”

THE NEW ERA IS UNDERWAY: follow it all LIVE and UNINTERRUPTED with the WorldSBK VideoPass!

Source: WorldSBK.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *