Despite being a five-time WorldSSP world champion, Kenan Sofuoglu has admitted to spending too long in the intermediate class, while prodigy Toprak Razgatlioglu was always destined for WorldSBK. 

Razgatlioglu became Turkey’s first ever WorldSBK champion at the season finale in Mandalika with a result of second in race one.

In doing so, Razgatlioglu also became the first rider to better Jonathan Rea since he joined Kawasaki in 2015. 

The six-time world champion did managed to reduced Razgatlioglu’s 30 point lead prior to the event down to 13 thanks to back-to-back feature race wins, however, Razgatlioglu’s incredible consistency and career year in terms of wins, poles and podiums was too much for Rea to overcome. 

It's a world title win that is especially important to former WorldSSP legend Sofuoglu who has been Razgatlioglu’s mentor for over ten years. 

Sofuoglu competed in just one WorldSBK season during his career (2008), as opposed to the 13 in WorldSSP, which he admitted was ‘too many’ and something he didn’t want to see happen with Razgatlioglu. 

The now WorldSBK champion with Yamaha had to be convinced by Sofugolu not to take the WorldSSP route after Razgatlioglu wanted to replicate the career of his mentor. 

"We invested more than ten years in Toprak to bring him to this level. When I put him in the STK600 Championship in 2015, he won everything, and everybody started to say I was going to put him in WorldSSP," said Sofuoglu when speaking to the official World Superbike website. 

"No. Turkey has enough world titles in WorldSSP, but I knew Turkey needed a WorldSBK title! 

"Immediately in 2016, I put him in the STK1000, and I told him ‘we have to build before World Superbike. 

"I spent too many years in WorldSSP, and I can’t change anymore, but you are very young, very fresh, very talented. This is the reason you will take that route’. 

"Toprak didn’t like it so much. He wanted to be like Kenan Sofuoglu, he wanted to be in World Supersport. I said ‘I will make you bigger than Kenan! Just respect and listen to my ideas’."