BMW adamant “we can fight for the title” with Toprak Razgatlioglu

BMW’s hot start to the 2024 WorldSBK season is making them dream of the title with Toprak Razgatlioglu.

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

BMW have won six out of the opening 12 WorldSBK races this season, all of which are thanks to Toprak Razgatlioglu.

The Turkish star has been nothing short of sensational since joining the German manufacturer, as he completed a hat-trick last time out on Ducati’s home turf at Misano.

With four wins on the bounce, Razgatlioglu has taken over the championship lead ahead of Nicolo Bulega and Alvaro Bautista.

Speaking about their recent success, BMW technical director Chris Gonschor told “For sure, it was a historic weekend with three wins. At Misano, I think it’s also a special place to get three wins.

“Our competitors have been incredibly strong here in recent years, so it was very hard to come here and to predict how the pace would be. From the test, it was clear that Bulega and Toprak are playing another game than some of the others.

“So, we were prepared after the test days here at Misano and we got some good data for the race pace.

“When you look backwards at the FP1 of Toprak, you see he started with a small issue with the quick shifter. He had about a ten-minute wait, then he headed back out and we all got a red flag. 

“So, we couldn’t do a lap, and then his first chrono lap was a 1’33.7s, which proved that the package and the rider here at Misano are on a very good pace.

“Therefore, the outcome of the historic triple is extremely nice. It was not predictable but the indications were there that the package is working.

“We were very strong in the last tracks, so all the work that the guys here and the team in Munich have done has led us here.”

Razgatlioglu, who has been linked with a switch to MotoGP in 2025, is contracted with BMW until the end of 2025 in WorldSBK.

Next season, his second with the team, was the year many expected him to fight for the title, including himself.

But those expectations have been brought forward due to his current form aboard the M 1000 RR.

Gonschor added: “It’s very good. I think Toprak will be very happy and he will enjoy. It’s good to see the rider in front, but it would be nice to see other riders in front, fighting for some good results at the end, especially also Mikey.

“He had good pace in several stints and also in the sectors but in the end, it’s a competitive championship and it’s hard to get it all together.

“We are all together in a good direction and I’m convinced that the other riders will come back to fight for the podium soon.

“The pace of Mikey was definitely closer than the result, the same for Garrett and Scott. Yes, it’s a hard season, but I am sure that, at a certain point in the season, now going to Donington and Most, that they will benefit from the bike package.”

But can BMW continue this form and sustain a serious title challenge until the end now that they have arguably the best rider in the championship?

Gonschor says yes: “It’s good to see it back on top. Like we said half a year ago, last time we were on top was with Melandri in 2012.

“It’s good to be back there with this brand, and it shows that this is a strong brand, and that the decision taken last year in Munich to change the organisation structure, development, research, to go one level higher was the right one and now everything has come together, and yes, it’s still a long championship, but we can fight for a title, and it’s a good position.”

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