Toprak Razgatlioglu is to remain in WorldSBK for two more seasons. The Turkish rider agreed a deal with Yamaha that will see him continue with the factory World Superbike squad through the 2023 season.
The deal was something of a surprise, as Razgatlioglu had been heavily linked with the empty seat (or more likely, seats) in Yamaha’s MotoGP teams.
At 24, and showing a lot of potential, Razgatlioglu seemed ripe for a switch to the MotoGP paddock. However, he has chosen to remain in WorldSBK and pursue the goal of becoming the first Turkish rider to win a World Superbike title.
Razgatlioglu’s manager, former World Supersport champion Kenan Sofuoglu, is believed to have a hand in Razgatlioglu’s decision.
Sofuoglu is a strong supporter of the WorldSBK series, in part because of his own successes in the championship, and in part because of his own bad experiences when he switched to Moto2.
Whether Razgatlioglu can switch to MotoGP at the end of this two-year contract remains to be seen. MotoGP team managers are known to be both strongly prejudiced against riders from WorldSBK (rightly or wrongly), and to favor youth over experience.
Razgatlioglu will be 26 at the end of his current WorldSBK contract, and will face competition from some of the top riders currently coming through from Moto3 and Moto2.
Surprisingly, 26 is relatively old in MotoGP: of the current grid, 13 riders are 26 or younger, and the 26-year-olds and those who turn 26 this year – Maverick Viñales, Brad Binder, Alex Rins, Jack Miller, Miguel Oliveira – are all in factory teams, with multiple seasons in MotoGP.
Finding a place among the youngsters coming up and the current crop of experienced riders may prove to be very difficult.
Source: Yamaha Racing