Toprak Razgatlioglu, the 2021 Superbike World Champion, got his first taste of his new ROKiT BMW Motorrad M 1000 RR during a short test Sunday, December 3 at Algarve International Circuit, in Portimao, Portugal.
The Turkish rider’s first stint was cut to just two laps by an oil leak and he only ended up getting 11-12 total laps in his half-day of testing, but Razgatlioglu was able to get a good first impression of the machine he will race in the next two Superbike World Championship seasons.
“First, I say, finally! We were waiting for my contract to finish, but finally, I’m riding a BMW,” Razgatlioglu said in English in a video interview with Dorna posted on the official series website, www.worldsbk.com. “For me, it’s very positive, I like hard braking but the engine braking was working a lot. Inside the team, my feeling is very warm and everyone is a very good [person], so I’m happy for this. The first day is done. I think the total was only 11-12 laps, but it was important to have a feeling. The first ride was very good and positive.
“We tried to put my setup, but today we didn’t start [in the morning] because the bike wasn’t ready. We used half a day from 12:00 p.m. We had a problem and everyone said it was the engine, but actually it was an oil problem. I lost time due to that, but my last run was very positive as I rode eight laps. I learnt the bike, as both this and my old one are different. I’m very happy as every lap I’m improving and learning the bike’s style. I need my style, but in the slow corners I feel better now.
“On the first lap, I was just smiling, especially on the corner exit. I know my old bike very well after four years but on the exit of the last corner I felt unbelievable power, and over the hill, it was still going. This bike keeps getting faster. I had to adapt the braking at the first corner because I was trying it like I had before but I stopped a lot. Also, after the problem at Turn One, there was oil on the left side of the track so we used the middle. This wasn’t easy for me to turn into Turn One. Anyway, every lap I was getting better, understanding the bike and the traction. The throttle connection is much better. I’m very happy and we have many parts to try.”
Asked to describe his first test in one word, Razgatlioglu said, “Very fast day. I say this because on the straights the bike [is] unbelievable fast.”
More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad Motorsport:
Preparation for WorldSBK 2024: Toprak Razgatlioglu’s first test with the BMW M 1000 RR.
Toprak Razgatlioglu completes first test as a BMW Motorrad WorldSBK factory rider in Portimão.
Toprak Razgatlioglu: “In general, I am really happy because it has been a very positive test”.
Marc Bongers: “I am positive after these first days”.
Portimão. Preparations for the 2024 season of the FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) are picking up the pace. Newcomer Toprak Razgatlioglu (TUR) completed his first days of testing as a BMW Motorrad WorldSBK factory rider on Sunday and Monday. Together with the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team and his team-mate Michael van der Mark (NED), Razgatlioglu took to the track in Portimão in Portugal.
Razgatlioglu used the first test to familiarise himself with the BMW M 1000 RR and to get to know his new team. There will be two more days of testing on Tuesday and Wednesday in Jerez de la Frontera in Spain.
Reaction after the Portimão test.
Toprak Razgatlioglu: “In general, I am really happy because it has been a very positive test. My feeling for the BMW M 1000 RR is very good. Now I understand the bike and we did also very good lap times regarding the track conditions which were not the best so I did not push towards a fast lap time and we did not use the softer tyre. I am enjoying it even if I could not do so many laps. We are learning because this bike is completely different for me but I now start to adapt to it. Especially on Monday I had a much better feeling for the front than before. And the power and the engine brake are unbelievable and the bike is very fast on the straight. I am very positive, we just need to do more laps. Thank you to all the guys, they gave me are warm welcome and everybody tries to improve, which we immediately did. We will see, I need more time. If we have good track conditions, I think that I can ride a good lap time because especially the front feeling when I enter the corner is now much better. The traction is working very well and I have more power. In general, I am very happy and after the first laps I would say that we are not far. We are coming.”
Marc Bongers, BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director: “For sure, it has been a test under difficult conditions. It turned out very clearly that we missed five weeks, we would have preferred to test in November in sunny weather. In addition, you are anxious to see how the first test will be. On Sunday, we made a very short-term call to use a few sessions of a track day with the guys just to get some dry time, because the weather forecast for Monday was bad, as it was proven then. Still we got about 30 laps in of Toprak on the BMW M 1000 RR and that is very valuable input. We did not test a lot but for sure it was important to get his first feedback, to get the ergonomics right, getting him to know the system. And from here we are going to head to Jerez where again the weather forecast does not look so good so we have to use every single dry time we might have. In general, I am positive after these first days. There have been a lot of positive comments, no dramas, we just went through a couple of points what we could offer him and what he feels and that was very good. He was not only very positive about the power of the BMW M 1000 RR but also about our electronics, turning and so on. Everything he said is a base to work from and built on. It confirmed that we have a good package and now we need to get the most out of it with him and the other guys as well. Mickey did some laps on Sunday but obviously with a lot of track day guys on the track it has been not so easy. But we wanted Mickey to go out just to have that reference. Then on Monday we said that it makes no sense for him to go out in tricky conditions as he knows the bike and the package.”
Shaun Muir, Team Principal ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team: “First of all, welcome to Toprak and to all the new mechanics who have joined the team for 2024. The test itself was a bit strange at the beginning. We took the opportunity to get some dry lap time on Sunday afternoon which was less than ideal but the weather was good. Monday morning, on the official test day for us, the weather was not ideal but we took the opportunity to go out in the afternoon. The track was still damp but it was a good start. The feedback from Toprak was super, it was precisely what we were hoping for. We know his riding style, we’ve watched him, we know what we need to do to adapt the bike to him and we’ve taken the first steps in doing that. I feel happy that the test has been of some use even if the conditions have not been ideal. We ticked some boxes and that was really important. For Jerez, we hope to get dry track conditions. Toprak still needs more laps to adapt to the bike before we can even start to compare lap times and to work on the fine tuning. For Michael, the test has been a bit strange. He did not have a lot to gain and a lot to lose. For him, it wasn’t ideal. We tested some parts on Sunday afternoon which was only a very small outing for him. He supported Toprak and will be back on the bike in Jerez.”
Michael van der Mark: “Unfortunately, I did not do so many laps during the test. That has been bad luck. But it was nice to be with the team and to have Toprak in the garage. There are some new mechanics and it was nice to spend a few days with the guys. Hopefully we have some better luck in Jerez. There are so many things to test, so hopefully we can finally go out with the bike. My first impression was that the whole atmosphere in the team is really good. I really enjoyed it even if I did not ride very much.”