Sofuoglu: ‘Very difficult to beat Bautista, but I believe in Toprak’

Toprak Razgatlioglu moving to BMW has done little to dampen Kenan Sofuoglu’s expectations, as the former Supersport great expects him to fight for WorldSBK wins from the outset in 2024.
Alvaro Bautista and Toprak Razgatlioglu, Jerez WorldSBK 2023
Alvaro Bautista and Toprak Razgatlioglu, Jerez WorldSBK 2023

Razgatlioglu will be aboard a different bike for the first time in five years after a sensational switch to BMW.

The 2021 world champion is perhaps the most well equipped rider to go from Yamaha, a perennial WorldSBK winning brand, to a bike in the M 1000 RR that has shown itself to be weaker than the R1.

There’s no disrupting Alvaro Bautista’s achievements' at Ducati, especially in 2023 when he won 27 out of 37 races, but that hasn’t stopped many of his competitors from picking Razgatlioglu as the best rider last season.

And Sofuoglu, who is aware of the big challenge ahead, believes Razgatlioglu is the rider to finally take BMW from the mid-field to winning races.

“From the first day we did a two-year contract because of that, the first year can be difficult, we expect this,” Sofuoglu told during BMW’s launch. “This doesn’t mean we will be off the podium; I believe Toprak will be always fighting for the podium, at least. 

“It’s like with the Yamaha, we were on the podium every race.”

“Winning is a little bit difficult. We know why. Bautista is very strong. When we were on the Yamaha, it was very difficult to beat Bautista for the win. 

“But personally, I believe in Toprak more than everyone. For that reason, I believe Toprak will surprise everyone. He’ll start with a podium… It can also be a win.” 

Testing begins this week at Jerez, before Portimao plays host to another two-day outing before the end of the month. Both tests will see all five factory teams in attendance along with many satellite teams.

Read More