Toprak triple fuels BMW title dream: ‘Everyone starts to believe’

Toprak Razgatlioglu: “Everyone starts to believe in me and BMW. We go step by step this season. I hope we finish as World Champions…”

Toprak Razgatlioglu, 2024 Misano WorldSBK
Toprak Razgatlioglu, 2024 Misano WorldSBK

12 years after BMW last led the WorldSBK standings with Marco Melandri, Toprak Razgatlioglu surged 21 points clear after inflicting a perfect hattrick of wins over reigning champion’s Ducati in their home Misano round.

Arriving three points behind Alvaro Bautista after rejuvenating the S1000RR project with three wins this season, Razgatlioglu hit new heights with a perfect sweep of the top step in Italy.

At a track where Bautista took all three victories last year, and BMW had a best finish of just eighth place, Razgatlioglu comfortably got the better of Bautista's rookie team-mate Nicolo Bulega in all three outings.

Bulega is now Razgatlioglu's closest title rival, with Bautista 24-points behind.

If Ducati was not rattled already, the Turkish star reminded that his advantage would be even greater without a technical DNF in the opening round - Bulega and Bautista having finished every race so far.

“At Phillip Island, we had a mechanical problem, and without this we’d have a bigger gap,” Razgatlioglu said. “This is good. We are learning and improving.

“I was worried at my first test because it was in wet conditions, I couldn’t understand if I was fast or not. At the next test, with everyone else, I understood I was fast, and the bike had potential, I’m showing it to everyone.

“Everyone starts to believe in me and BMW. We go step by step this season. I hope we finish as World Champions, but there are many races and it’s better not to talk like this!”

There are still eight rounds to go this season but momentum is firmly behind Razgatlioglu, who continues to improve his feeling on the BMW.

“I’m really happy because when I came to Misano, I had just one target: three wins with BMW. I did it!” beamed Razgatlioglu on Sunday. “We did a great job today.

“After Race 1, we changed something on the bike. I was feeling much better, especially with the front tyre grip. I was pushing the front more.

“After five or eight laps, everyone started to drop; I could continue. I know after five or six laps; I’d be very strong.

“I’m just riding calmly and trying not to make mistakes. We are also understanding in hot conditions which tyre is better for us.”

The next round will be at Donington Park in July, a particular favourite of Razgatlioglu who took his first WorldSBK weekend sweep at the British venue with Yamaha in 2022.

BMW has never won the WorldSBK crown, Melandri’s 2012 title challenge collapsing with just one finish in the final six races dropping him to third overall.

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