Toprak P2 on Barcelona BMW debut, suffers Turn 10 fall: “I hope to feel better… there’s no grip”

Toprak Razgatlioglu’s (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) second round as a BMW rider is fast approaching but a test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya gives opportunity for vital preparation for the weekend. Always a track which has been challenging for BMW, with a lack of grip and rear-wheel spinning a problem, it is pivotal that BMW – along with the other manufacturers – work hard to get their bikes in an optimal operating window.

The day didn’t start particularly well for the 27-year-old Turk, who crashed at Turn 10 under braking. He was able to get up to his feet and ride the bike back but the #54 M 1000 RR was quite damaged. However, he was soon dusted down and back out on track; with two bikes available, there were two different swingarms spotted – the Kalex one which was used in Australia and a newer, street-model derived version which has been seen before at various tests. Setting 62 laps and inside the top three for most of the afternoon on his way to second – when the track was at its best of the day – Razgatlioglu was satisfied at the end of day one.

FIRST FALLER: “I had a small crash at Turn 10, trying to fix the engine braking”

Reviewing the day and about how it went, the 2021 World Champion said: “I had a small crash at Turn 10, trying to fix the engine braking. The rear locked a bit, released, the rear was sliding and then came back again and pushed me into the corner and then I fell. The crash was slow but the bike was destroyed. I saw some parts! I got back out to try and fix the rear grip but I’m still not 100%, especially here. Entry it’s OK but the exit with the opening of the gas, it spins a lot. At Yamaha, I can remember that it had better grip and with BMW, we found a way and tomorrow, we’ll work more and I hope to feel better. I have traction, no problem; there’s just no grip.”

Focussing on the BMW side as a whole, he said: “With the team’s side, it’s similar to Yamaha but on the manufacturer side, I see a lot more people from the factory. At Yamaha, I never saw Japanese guys. Just Italian and British guys. Here, there’s a lot of German guys because the project is very important for these guys. What I need, they immediately make. I always say I need more engine braking and these guys make new software just for me. What I need, BMW make it; it’s direct with the factory.”

Talking about using the newer-style swingarm and outlining the plan for day two in Barcelona, he continued: “I used the new swingarm; the plan is that we’ll use the old swingarm tomorrow to understand the grip because it’s bad. With the Q tyre, we’ll have more grip but I’m still feeling the tyre spinning.”

GONSCHOR ON BMW TEST PROGAMME: “We have the potential of the bike”

Speaking earlier in the day, Chris Gonschor, BMW Motorrad Motorsport’s technical director, spoke of the testing with the various swingarms: “I’m sure we don’t have to talk about the distribution but we’re working on the rear end of the bike, as was the case in Portimao and during the Phillip Island tests too. It already started in January. We want to calm down and optimise corner exit and stabilise corner entry. Getting out of the corner more stabilised and more under control; it’s obvious the swingarm was part of this evaluation but like always, it’s just one part.”

Attention then turned to the wider test goals and the low grip situation that Barcelona always offers: “The test target is like always; using the track time we have in these perfect conditions here in Barcelona. I’m glad that we have the test and race together in March. The test team will focus on development like always – without going into detail – and the race team full focused on the race operation. This opportunity is a perfect time to prepare for the weekend. We’re looking forward to the race weekend. This track is completely different to Phillip Island in terms of grip as here has less. We’re not afraid of the circumstances and to get stuck in; we have the potential of the bike and the ingredients we put in bring us into the working window and we’ll concentrate on getting the best out of it. I’m fully motivated like the rest of the team to work here, race next week and get important data.”

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