It’s fair to say Toprak Razgatlioglu’s maiden WorldSBK title win has been a very popular one, none more so than at Yamaha according to his Team Principal, Paul Denning. 

Razgatlioglu became Turkey’s first ever WorldSBK champion after finishing second in the first of two Mandalika races ten days ago.

It’s also a title win that puts Yamaha back at the top of WorldSBK, an achievement that last happened in 2009 when Ben Spies won the title. 

Razgatlioglu and Rea’s 2021 battle was arguably the best we’ve ever seen in WorldSBK as both riders fought one-another for victories at every single round. 

In fact, Rea has just as many wins as Razgatlioglu (13), one podium more and more pole positions, which begs the question how did Razgatlioglu become the first rider to beat Rea since 2015?

Well, Razgatlioglu was no lower than sixth in every race he finished - that’s 34 out of 37 races, while also taking victories at rounds such as Donington, Portimao and Most when Rea crucially crashed while trying to beat the Yamaha man. 

Razgatlioglu was mistake-free throughout the entire season despite having his fair share of mechanical issues, which is even more reason why bettering Rea was an ‘incredible’ feat in just his second season at Yamaha.

Speaking about Razgatlioglu’s achievement, Denning added: "What a season, it’s a very emotional moment. I’m so happy for the people in the team and in Yamaha. 

"For Toprak as a human being, not only as an athlete, to achieve what he has is incredible. He’s kept his humble approach, he respects everybody and he works as a true part of the team. 

"He had some difficult moments that weren’t his fault this year, and to come back from those without making a single mistake is very impressive. 

"An incredible season, he deserves it and the team deserves it. It’s a bit cliché to say that it’s more difficult to defend a championship than to win it for the first time, so we have to stay focused for next year. 

"Jonathan will come back strong again, he has elevated his own performance this year to fight with Toprak, so to beat him next year will be a challenge that we look forward to."