Toprak: ‘Engine brake is unbelievable’, BMW ‘not far away’

Toprak Razgatlioglu admits BMW are very close to challenging at the front of WorldSBK.
Toprak Razgatlioglu, BMW WorldSBK Portimao 2023
Toprak Razgatlioglu, BMW WorldSBK Portimao 2023

Razgatlioglu has concluded his first WorldSBK test with the German manufacturer, after riding at Portimao on Sunday and Monday. 

The Turkish star, who is set for a second consecutive test at Jerez over the next two days, was limited by poor weather although he did manage to increase his work load during the second day of running at Portimao. 

Speaking to WorldSBK, Razgatlioglu said: “Today we are riding but not in fully dry conditions. In general, I’m feeling happy because it was a very positive test. I’m feeling like the bike is much better because, on Sunday, I rode the bike for the first time but only 11 laps. 

“Today [Monday], we changed something, and the feeling is very good. I had a strange crash at Turn 5. I tried hard braking, the rear came up, went down and after it started sliding a lot. 

“I crashed on the left side but not a big crash. After, I’m riding again to make sure I understand the bike. We did a very good lap time with these track conditions. I enjoyed it. I didn’t do many laps; 19 on Monday and 11 on Sunday. 

“We are learning. This bike, after four years in blue, is completely different. I’m starting to adapt. I felt the front was much better than before and especially the engine braking is unbelievable. 

“We used a different map. Finally I feel the engine brake! Very positive. We need more laps with this bike for the setup because we have many parts, but we don’t have the time to try them. I hope for dry conditions at Jerez to try the other parts.”

While Razgatlioglu became famous for his unique braking style aboard the Yamaha, and thus made it look like the perfect bike for him, the engine braking aboard the M 1000 RR has him feeling even greater about his chances with BMW.

“The biggest difference is the engine brake is unbelievable and also the other biggest difference is the bike is very fast on the straight,” said Razgatlioglu. “This is good because it’s the first time I’m feeling power. I’m very happy about this. 

“I don’t know about the aero but maybe I’m feeling it on the last corner exit, going uphill. I’m feeling the bike isn’t wheelieing but maybe this is helping; I don’t really understand it. 

“I’m just focused on entering the corner and acceleration. Maybe I need more laps to understand the wings. I think it’s helping through the exit of the last corner. 

“With the Yamaha, I was always trying to have more lean because of the wheelie but with the BMW, I’m not fighting. 

“On the corner exit, I’m feeling power and, after the hill, I’m feeling power still; the bike’s accelerating more. 

“Under braking for Turn 1, I’m also happy now because I start to lean, I feel the engine brake a lot and now it’s a very positive test. I need more laps. I tried my best and explain the bike, explain some problems. 

“We are immediately improving. I need more time. We are not far away. I’ll say just this. We are coming.”

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