Is Toprak Razgatlioglu a generational talent and will we find out if MotoGP move

After agreeing a deal to join BMW for the 2024 WorldSBK season, a move which might have ruled him out of ever competing in MotoGP, can Toprak Razgatlioglu be considered a generational talent?
Toprak Razgatlioglu, Yamaha World Superbike Catalunya 2023
Toprak Razgatlioglu, Yamaha World Superbike Catalunya 2023

Currently at Yamaha in what is his fourth season with the Japanese manufacturer in WorldSBK, Razgatlioglu is not only aboard one of the most competitive bikes in the series, but one that has ties to MotoGP and could therefore have been a stepping stone to such a move.

In fact, Razgatlioglu was given two MotoGP tests on an M1, one of which came after winning the world title in 2021 as part of a reward for his success, while the more recent outing at Jerez was an opportunity to assess whether Razgatlioglu had the speed to make an immediate impact.

Instead it proved to be a disappointing test for Razgatlioglu and Yamaha as he was considerably slower than the likes of Dani Pedrosa and Cal Crutchlow, which has since led to the Turkish star opting to stay in WorldSBK after confirming he doesn’t feel as comfortable aboard MotoGP machinery. 

However, Razgatlioglu’s talent can’t be denied as he’s proven time and time again that he can win against the best that WorldSBK has to offer. 

Razgatlioglu’s unique ability to do things on a motorcycle that no one else in WorldSBK can achieve has been very evident in recent seasons.

Of course, when we talk about unique ability the first thing that comes to mind is his incredible braking prowess.

The Yamaha has rarely been associated with braking as its biggest strength, yet Razgatlioglu has made direct-battle against him a near-impossible task for other riders due to the way in which he can lunge from deep without being out of control.

Even more impressive is the fact Razgatlioglu very rarely makes mistakes despite braking harder and later than any other rider on the grid.

Jonathan Rea, a six-time WorldSBK champion, was the king of Superbike racing for six seasons while also being known as one of the best brakers, if not the best.

However, Razgatlioglu consistently showed in 2021 an ability to out-duel Rea when it came to hard braking zones, and in plainer terms, overall wheel-to-wheel racing.

Fast forward to now, which is a point in time where Bautista has the best bike on the grid, Razgatlioglu has continued to fight at the very top of WorldSBK as he was the Spaniard’s main challenger last season, which is also the case in 2023.

Yamaha’s first world champion since Ben Speis in 2009, the first rider to end Rea’s reign at the top of WorldSBK, Razgatlioglu has achieved many things that other riders have failed to do, while also achieving them in more eye-catching ways than most. 

Yes it’s difficult to identify just how good Razgatlioglu is since he’s never stepped foot into MotoGP, but what we do know is that the Turkish rider stands towards the top when it comes to the discussion of best Superbike riders of all-time, despite only being 26 years of age. 

We believe there’s reason to suggest Razgatliolgu is a generational talent, but if you the reader remains unconvinced, then next season could be the turning point if he takes BMW to the front of WorldSBK, something many others have not managed to do.

Read More