Razgatlioglu has been spectacular to watch, fastest in two of the four WorldSBK Superpole sessions and on the verge of winning a lot more races than the one he’s managed so far in 2022.

Yet, the Pata Yamaha rider is already facing a must win situation heading into Donington Park, one of his favourite race tracks on the calendar. 

Aside from his coming-together with Rea in Assen which led to both riders crashing out, Razgatlioglu has again been mistake-free in 2022. In fact, the Turkish star has finished on the podium in all 11 other races.

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But when we say mistake-free, that’s on the basis of crashing out and losing huge chunks of points, not smaller errors which have been the difference between winning and finishing second or third. 

If we look specifically at his race results, Razgatlioglu has made mistakes when leading that we never saw during his title-winning campaign. 

In Estoril, Razgatlioglu lost out to Bautista in race one after getting a poor exit from the final corner, which allowed Bautista to use his Ducati power and blast past Razgatlioglu before the line.

In the Superpole race Razgatlioglu had a near one second lead over Rea with just a few corners to go, but too eager to break his winless streak, Razgatlioglu made a crucial mistake as he momentarily lost the front which allowed Rea to come through and take victory. 

The 26 year-old finally took victory during the Superpole race in Misano (11th race of the year), but with Rea and in particular Bautista being so far ahead in the championship, Razgatlioglu will need a sustained run of victories to fight back. 

‘There might have been some anxiety’, says Team Principal Paul Denning

Talking about his rider’s race-win drought, Denning told WorldSBK.com: "Bottom line is we didn’t win in 2021 at Assen, Aragon or Estoril, it’s not as if we were suddenly at tracks where we dominated the races and weren’t winning. And we were a lot, lot closer to the victories at Aragon and Assen than we were a year ago. 

"Estoril, of course, was a really unfortunate one. For the sake of 100 metres or so we won that first race and then obviously that amazing save when Toprak, on the last lap of the Superpole race, just lost the front. We were there or thereabouts. 

"There might have been some anxiety, but you’ve got to just keep a level head and keep plugging away and doing your best and improving the bike and the package around the level that now presents us which is simply higher than it was last year."

Denning convinced Razgatlioglu can win a second WorldSBK title on the bounce

Despite the substantial deficit Razgatlioglu is already facing, the Yamaha rider has eight rounds to try and salvage his title defence.

Potentially helping Razgatlioglu is the fact that his raw pace has been nothing short of sensational, while in Misano he claimed it was the first weekend where the bike felt like it was his, therefore allowing him to ride at his best once again.

"By every measure, we’ve improved compared to 2021. We’re going considerably faster everywhere," Denning continued. 

"A big, big step in Superpole lap times, conditions and a good step in race pace. The races are a huge amount quicker than a year ago. But, of course, the competition has moved up as well. 

"We’ve had an interesting start to the year. Very much at the front of the pace and fighting for victories at every event and it’s great that we secured the first win of the year at Misano. It could’ve easily been, for a bit of luck or races rolling in a slightly different direction, win number three of four. 

"Whilst we’ve got a fair gap in the championship to Bautista, it’s not unrecoverable and we’ll just focus on, as we did last year, our best every weekend and see where that leaves us."