Toprak Razgatlioglu says the stress of making his Pata Yamaha debut was worth it as he held on to take victory on his first outing with the YZF-R1 at the 2020 World Superbike opener at Phillip Island.

After a standout season for Puccetti Kawasaki in 2019, Razgatlioglu has carried over his potential by winning the first race of the 2020 WorldSBK campaign by just 0.007s from Kawasaki Alex Lowes – the rider he replaced at the factory Yamaha team.

Razgatlioglu knew conserving tyre life for the closing laps at the Australian track would be vital in the fight for victory and with defending champion Jonathan Rea out of contention due to an earlier fall the Turkish rider grabbed his opportunity to storm to victory.

As the early championship leader, Razgatlioglu believes his team’s strategy and preparation paid off as he gave Yamaha victory on its debut with the 2020 upgraded YZF-R1.

“Today in FP3 I felt much better with the bike. It was turning well and the rear grip was much better. I said to myself that I was ready to race,” Razgatlioglu said. “But before the race I was incredibly stressed because this is my first time racing the R1 and as an official rider.

“I knew I needed a good early track position and after the start I focused on the race conditions because I knew I had to save the tyres.

“The bike was sliding at the end and on the final lap I was worried because when I opened the gas it started spinning, not going forward.

“It was very close - but I won on the new R1. Tomorrow we will try for a good set-up on the rear tyre. Maybe the ten laps race will be no problem but it is important for the long race.”

Pata Yamaha team boss Paul Denning called it a dream debut for Razgatlioglu and the new R1 while he is eager to see its ideal start continue into tomorrow’s Sprint Race and Race 2 at the Australian cirucit. 

“What a start to the season! Since his first day on the R1 Toprak’s outright talent has been very clear,” Denning said. “Here at Phillip Island, at a circuit he had not had good results at in the past, and following tyre durability concerns at the test - to turn that into such a strong qualifying performance and then an incredible race victory was more than we could have expected.

“It is a dream start for him and his Yamaha career with us, but we will be keeping our feet firmly on the ground as regards to tomorrow.

“It is Phillip Island and anything can happen! Jonathan Rea made a mistake and the top four were covered by one tenth so everything can change but for the moment we will certainly enjoy Toprak’s victory.”