Paul Denning on Toprak Razgatlioglu winning with BMW: “It was painful to watch”

Paul Denning has revealed it ‘was painful to watch’ Toprak Razgatlioglu win in the colours of BMW.

Toprak Razgatlioglu, Catalunya WorldSBK, Race2, 24 March
Toprak Razgatlioglu, Catalunya WorldSBK, Race2, 24 March

2021 WorldSBK champion Toprak Razgatlioglu took BMW to the top step of the podium in Catalunya, winning both Race 1 and the Superpole Race.

Deprieved of success for many years, BMW were back with a bang at a circuit that had previously been troublesome for them. 

Razgatlioglu, who has showcased his immense talent on many occasions with Yamaha over the last few seasons, has seemingly lifted BMW into title contention which is something many people did not expect in his first year with the team.

At his former team, Jonathan Rea has endured a nightmare start to 2024, scoring points in just one of the six races.

And while Denning’s focus is on improving the situation for Rea at Yamaha, the Pata Prometeon Yamaha team principal admitted he watched Razgatlioglu’s double win in Catalunya and came away impressed with his performance.

Denning told “We never said at any time that he wouldn’t be competitive on whatever bike he was riding but honestly speaking, it was a painful watch from a team and Yamaha perspective, there’s no getting away from it.

“Toprak when he’s feeling it has a depth of talent that can do many things; he surprised me and us because Barcelona has always been a circuit that has been difficult to manage the tyres on.

“We’ll see. I think there’s a lot of racing still to be done and as we’ve already touched on, I don’t think we’re going to have either one, two or three riders that you can pick from that are going to be winning at a particular track.”

A big change for Yamaha that’s coming for 2025 is the confirmation that the R1 will strictly be a racing and track-only bike in Europe.

Yamaha have not made substantial changes to their R1 in recent seasons and Denning admits this has positive but also negative effects.

“There are disadvantages to a bike that effectively remains the same but there are also great advantages to that in terms of development, clear targets and knowledge of the engineers,” said Denning.

“The fact is that for 2025, the R1 is available in the European markets as a race/track day only machine and that it will be sold to customers in the same way a motocross bike is, as a leisure/racing machine.

“I don’t know any details at this stage but it’s logical that if a manufacturer isn’t having to invest in the emissions side of things and the continuous updates of the road legalities, there is the scope to make it more attractive as that racing/sport machine.

“Let’s wait and see and as I say, I don’t know any details but what I do know is that Yamaha’s commitment both in Japan and in Europe to the R1 is absolute and there are no intentions that the R1 remains anything other than the halo of the Yamaha range.

“From a racing perspective, that’s good for the ongoing specification upgrade.”

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