Alvaro Bautista: Toprak ‘slower than last year in flowing areas’

Despite beating him to victory in Race 2 at Assen, Alvaro Bautista says Toprak Razgatlioglu is ‘slower’ in some areas with the BMW than he was with Yamaha.

Toprak Razgatlioglu, Alvaro Bautista, Race1, Dutch WorldSBK, 20 April
Toprak Razgatlioglu, Alvaro Bautista, Race1, Dutch WorldSBK, 20 April

Reigning WorldSBK champion Alvaro Bautista says main rival Toprak Razgatlioglu is not as strong under braking aboard the BMW.

Razgatlioglu has won three out of the last six races, including two feature-length races in Catalunya and Assen.

Both wins came at circuits where Razgatlioglu had never won at before, highlighting just how strong the 2021 world champion is aboard the M 1000 RR.

Razgatlioglu, after just three rounds with BMW, looks to be stronger than ever but that’s not exactly true, according to Bautista.

“Watching from the outside, Toprak was stronger on braking and entry to the corner last year, leaning with more confidence,” began Bautista.

“This year, he brakes hard but on corner entry, it’s not the same; I don’t know if he hasn’t got the confidence or the bike doesn’t allow him to do it but for sure, on acceleration and top speed, he’s much better than last year.

“If he had the same top speed of last year with this bike, he’d be worse because in the flowing areas, he’s slower than last year.

“I think that Bulega, Toprak, myself – and other riders in some races – but I think the championship will be between us.

“In all conditions, we’re strong so I think it’ll be a three-rider fight.”

Nicolo Bulega still ‘surprised every time I get a podium’ 

Nicolo Bulega, Catalunya WorldSBK, Race2, 24 March
Nicolo Bulega, Catalunya WorldSBK, Race2, 24 March

In the title fight with team-mate Bautista and Razgatlioglu, Bulega has been one of the standout riders through three rounds.

The WorldSBK rookie has struggled at times with tyre wear, but Bulega’s speed cannot be questioned.

Bulega has finished on the podium four times in nine races, including a victory at Phillip Island.

However, the Italian admits he’s still surprised when he finds himself on the podium.

“Every time I get a podium, it’s a surprise,” stated Bulega. “It’s difficult to get to a new track without testing, bad weather and be first for almost the full Superpole Race and stay in the front group in Race 2.

“We have to take the positives from this weekend; I know I won in Australia and in Barcelona, I did a good weekend with two podiums and here it seems it’s not very good.

“However, it’s been a difficult month with the operation and I wasn’t able to train like always.

“Assen is a difficult track physically too, so I take the positives and try again at Misano.”

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