Muir: ‘Nervous for everyone’ seeing Toprak on a BMW for the first time

Shaun Muir says it was nervous for everyone at BMW to have 2021 WorldSBK champion Toprak Razgatlioglu jump aboard the M 1000 RR at the Portimao test.
Toprak Razgatlioglu, BMW WorldSBK Portimao 2023
Toprak Razgatlioglu, BMW WorldSBK Portimao 2023

A private test for the Turkish rider ahead of joining team-mate Michael Van Der Mark in Jerez, Razgatlioglu completed his first laps aboard the M 1000 RR and was very happy.

Able to be strong where the Yamaha was lacking, particularly with power from the engine, Razgatlioglu felt good about his opening day, which Muir admitted was a ‘nervous occasion’ for many due to the hype surrounding his move.

“It’s nervous for everyone,” Muir told “We’ve been waiting for this time for quite a few months now. We would’ve hoped to have been on track earlier. We’re here in December and it’s not the best conditions. 

“Of course, everyone’s excited. It’s great for the team. There was a little bit more pressure on Sunday morning, because we fully expected to be doing more promo and videos and photographs, but that didn’t happen. 

“It was a mad four hours from when we decided we’d go for it. We had to mobilise quickly, get everything up to temperature, get the guys ready to roll and it was quite hectic! 

“Because of the quick turnaround, it took away the nerves and we just got on with it. It was great to see him get on the bike and see the #54 going down pitlane on the BMW.”

Razgatlioglu’s two tests with BMW are taking place at venues he was very strong at last season, although Alvaro Bautista managed to get the upper hand during their title fight.

Speaking after the Portimao outing, Muir added: “We saw what he was up against in 2023 here at this circuit, with his fight against Alvaro. The corners where he felt he was weak, he felt super strong. We know where we inherently are with this bike compared to the others on the grid. 

“We know the strengths Toprak has, it’s engine braking, corner entry, hard braking. That’s an area where we need to step up and that’s going to be our focus. The feedback we got is what we expected.”

Since returning to the series as a full factory team, BMW have struggled to consistently break into the top three manufacturers.

But with the addition of Razgatlioglu and BMW’s continued commitment to success, doing so in 2024 is likely to be their best opportunity yet.

“BMW’s commitment has never been in question, and I think it’s about having to step up again,” said the Team Principal. “We’re having to step forward and higher like everyone else is doing in the Championship. No matter what we do, the opposition are doing the same. 

“In terms of the test team, it’s been in the pipeline all year. BMW Motorrad made that commitment over a year ago and things don’t happen overnight. It’s taken a lot of time to get that established. 

“They’ve had some very positive track time already. We know what they’ve been doing, and they’ve been putting some really hard work in and we’re starting to see the benefits of that. 

“When we turn up at these tests here, we want to be focusing on what we’ll be running for next year. We want to be working on parts that have already been tested. We’re just doing the final evaluation on that. 

“The guys that are running that have been in the BMW family for quite a number of years. I only see that as an extension of what we have here. There’s quite a few overlaps and input from people working with us this weekend here, and during a normal WorldSBK round, already involved with the testing team. 

“I can only re-emphasise that all we’re trying to do is keep that pressure on, moving forward and staying with the opposition. We’ve got four fantastic riders. I’m super happy that I’ve got Toprak and Michael, that’s my focus. 

“I just want to be talking after Phillip Island, Barcelona, the next tests and already making those steps because our time has to come. We’ve got the tools to do it and now’s the time.”

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