Toprak Razgatlioglu unlikely to make MotoGP move as Yamaha confirm split

Toprak Razgatlioglu will officially leave Yamaha at the end of the 2023 WorldSBK season, making a move to MotoGP very unlikely.
Toprak Razgatlioglu, Yamaha World Superbike Catalunya 2023
Toprak Razgatlioglu, Yamaha World Superbike Catalunya 2023

The 2021 WorldSBK champion has spent the last four seasons with the factory Yamaha team, however, Razgatlioglu will now leave the Japanese manufacturer as he looks for a new challenge.

A move to MotoGP, which he called a ‘dream’ of his as recently as last year, was seen as a very realistic possibility over the last year or so.

Two tests aboard M1 machinery after winning the world title only ramped up speculation, but with the recent Jerez test not going as well as expected, and Yamaha falling behind Ducati in both championships, Razgatlioglu has decided to depart Yamaha despite a big offer being made to retain him.

"I want to say to the whole Yamaha family a very big thank you for the love and respect they have shown me," said Razgatlioglu in a team statement. "To win the World Championship was my dream when I signed with Yamaha, and we reached that goal together. 

"For next season I feel I need a new challenge and while there was an opportunity in MotoGP, I didn’t feel the same connection with the MotoGP bike that I have with the superbike. 

"But if I am to stay in WorldSBK then I need a new target, a new ambition. I am sorry to leave Yamaha, both the brand and the people, as we have a very good relationship, but change is part of any sport and normal for any professional. 

"So, a big thank you to Yamaha Motor Company, Yamaha Motor Europe, Yamaha Motor Turkiye, the Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK team and especially to my crew, who have all worked so hard for me."

Razgatlioglu is said to have drawn significant interest for the 2024 season from both BMW and Honda in WorldSBK, while it remains to be seen if another opportunity could come his way in MotoGP, although his statement seems to suggest he would prefer to stay put in Superbikes. 

Andrea Dosoli, Road Racing Manager at Yamaha Motor Europe, also spoke about Razgatlioglu’s departure at the end of this season as he confirmed that an offer was made before the Turkish star told them his intentions. 

Dosoli added: "We will be sorry to see Toprak leave Yamaha at the end of this season. We wanted to continue what has been an incredibly successful partnership, with the obvious highlight being the triple crown of rider, manufacturer, and team world titles that we won together in 2021. 

"We made what we felt was an offer that properly reflected Toprak’s value as a rider and an ambassador for Yamaha, as well as the competitiveness of our racing package and our racing strategy within the WorldSBK platform.

"However, as the negotiations progressed it became apparent to both parties that Toprak is motivated to embrace a new challenge in 2024 and we respect his decision. 

"Although our paths will diverge at the end of the year, we are now fully focused on the battle for the 2023 WorldSBK title, which resumes shortly at Misano. Finally, I would like to thank Toprak on behalf of Yamaha but also personally, for his invaluable contribution to our WorldSBK project. 

"His first World Championship title in 2021 was a just reward for him but also for all the people who, since we returned to WorldSBK in 2016, have worked so hard to make this project a success. 

"It is a memory that everyone at Yamaha will cherish. We wish Toprak every success for the future but, for now, we have a job to finish."

Read More