Denning: Level in WorldSBK ‘far higher’ than 2021, Toprak ‘outstanding all year’

Winner of 14 WorldSBK races in 2022 which was one more than his title-winning season, Toprak Razgatlioglu was ‘outstanding all year’ according to his Pata Yamaha Team Principal, Paul Denning.
Toprak Razgatlioglu, Yamaha World Superbike Catalunya
Toprak Razgatlioglu, Yamaha World Superbike Catalunya

Razgatlioglu saw his reign as WorldSBK champion ended by Ducati rider Alvaro Bautista after the Spaniard produced a brilliant 2022 season.

But for all the race wins Bautista had, Razgatlioglu was only two wins shy of the Spanish rider’s tally of 16.

Both Bautista and Razgatlioglu showed impressive levels of dominance as they completed individual hat-tricks, while lap records were also shattered - mostly through Razgatlioglu during Superpole sessions.

Although Razgatlioglu proved to be very consistent, Bautista made fewer mistakes which ultimately played a huge role in the outcome of the championship. 

The former MotoGP rider made just one mistake throughout the entire season, while also finishing on the podium in 28 of the 33 races.

Speaking to, Denning concluded that Bautista was the deserving champion and that his combination together with the Panigale V4 R meant everyone else had to be ‘perfect’.

Denning said: "We won 13 races last year with Toprak and 14 this year. As it turned out this year, with Alvaro making one mistake in the whole season, which was Donington when he tucked the front and had a DNF, as a team, as a rider, you just had to be perfect everywhere. 

"Not being perfect cost us the chance to bring the fight to Phillip Island. Alvaro deserves the championship. 

"The bottom line is we didn’t quite have enough to win the title but, by any other measure, it was a very successful season.”

Toprak Razgatlioglu, Superpole Race, Indonesian WorldSBK. 13 November
Toprak Razgatlioglu, Superpole Race, Indonesian WorldSBK. 13 November

"What needs to be acknowledged is that the Bautista-Ducati package and the level that Jonathan and Kawasaki got to this year was far, far higher than last year."

With that said, Razgatlioglu was incredible for large parts of the season and Denning was quick to point that out: "Toprak was just outstanding all year. There’s a couple of little things he knows he can do better in terms of how we prepare for the race weekend when things are perhaps not working as well as they should be. 

"We need to continue developing the bike and Yamaha are working very hard in that way and, operationally, there’s a couple of things as a team. 

"When your competitors are that strong, you can’t have any weaknesses, so we need to get rid of those and make a step forward."

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