Toprak Razgatlioglu on Assen expectations: ‘Maybe I will be fighting for the win’

After his double victory in Barcelona, Toprak Razgatlioglu is hoping for a similar showing at Assen.

Toprak Razgatlioglu, Catalunya WorldSBK Race1, 23 March
Toprak Razgatlioglu, Catalunya WorldSBK Race1, 23 March

While Toprak Razgatlioglu was expected to be strong at the start of 2024 with BMW, the 2021 WorldSBK champion’s performance in Barcelona exceeded anyone’s predictions.

A circuit dominated by Ducati, Razgatlioglu took two wins including an incredible last-lap win after beating Alvaro Bautista and Andrea Iannone to the line.

Although he’s always been competitive at Assen, Razgatlioglu has never won at the Dutch circuit in WorldSBK.

Hoping to rely on team-mate Michael Van Der Mark’s experience with the M 1000 RR at the ‘Cathedral of Speed’, Razgatlioglu wants to fight for the podium again, if not the win.

“I am very happy to come back to Assen again. We don’t know yet how the weather will be, but it is always a bit difficult there,” said Razgatlioglu. 

“It looks like it will be cold and with maybe some rain; we will see. It’s Mickey’s home race and maybe he can help me a little bit because it’s my first time there with BMW and Mickey is always strong there so maybe he can help me with some lines and some data.

“We are always working together and I am very happy for that. My target is to fight for the podium again, but I am there with the BMW M 1000 RR for the first time and maybe my feeling is very good and I will be fighting for the win.

“We will see at the race weekend. In general I am happy, and as it is Mickey’s home race, I hope that we finish the race on the podium together.

“I am ready, I keep training every day, and I was pushing especially in the past five days with training two or three times per day.

“I’m feeling really ready to fight, and everyone in the team works a lot. This is also a very good motivation for me. 

“We have done a very good job so far and I think we can also do so at Assen. We will see at the race weekend.”

For Van Der Mark, this weekend’s home round will be a chance to build on his impressive Catalunya round.

Van Der Mark secured an early season-best of P4 in Race 2, however, caution will be needed to some degree as Assen 2024 saw the former race winner with Yamaha break his leg following a violent highside.

Van Der Mark added: “It’s really nice to come to Assen, my home round, and I think that we come there at the right time.

“We had two very good rounds before arriving at Assen with a lot of confidence which is always nice so I’m looking forward to it.

“It will be a busy weekend for me with a lot of friends and family but it’s great. 

“It’s only once a year so I will enjoy it and I think we’ve shown now that the base of the bike is really good and we can be really competitive.

“My goal for the weekend is to fight for the podiums and it would be fantastic to get on the podium at my home round.”

Michael van der Mark, Catalunya WorldSBK Race1, 23 March
Michael van der Mark, Catalunya WorldSBK Race1, 23 March

Celebrating BMW’s first win with Razgatlioglu on the podium with the Turkish star, Marc Bongers, like the team’s riders is excited about the prospect of another big round in Assen.

“Assen is always something special,” said the BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director. “The circuit has a long history, and the enthusiasm of the fans there is always great.

“The first two race weekends of the season have gone excellently, and accordingly, we come to Assen with a lot of optimism.

“We have shown on tracks that don’t necessarily suit us well how competitive the BMW M 1000 RR is, not only with Toprak’s wins and podiums, but with good results for our entire WorldSBK squad.

“However, we do not rest on our laurels, but we all work hard to continue this path at Assen.

“The past races have once again confirmed how tight it is in WorldSBK, but our goal is to be contenders in the top field at Assen as well.”

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