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Incredible Debut Yamaha Victory for Razgatlioglu in Phillip Island!

Incredible Debut Yamaha Victory For Razgatlioglu in Phillip Island!

Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team with Rizla new signing Toprak Razgatlioglu scored a stunning victory at his very first attempt in race one at Phillip Island, as his team-mate Michael van der Mark missed out on a podium finish by just 0.096 seconds.

The 4.445km-long circuit in Australia delivered a thrilling race from the start with front row qualifier Jonathan Rea running wide on lap one and eventually falling soon after, as the Pata Yamaha with Rizla pairing of Razgatlioglu and van der Mark battled at the front through all 22 intense and often combative laps in dry and sunny track conditions. 

Both riders had stated that the 2020 Yamaha R1 had benefitted from a series of improvements, and both proved it with their ability to qualify on the second row of the grid and then stay in contention to the end, in a race with up to seven riders fighting within the leading group. 

After long-time leader Tom Sykes had dropped back and Scott Redding took the lead for three laps, Razgatlioglu assumed front-running control for a while, until van der Mark made his claim for the win from lap 19 to 20. 

Razgatlioglu reasserted his hold on the lead for the final two laps and it looked like a Pata Yamaha with Rizla 1-2 was on the cards, until Kawasaki rider Alex Lowes made a last-corner pass, pushing van der Mark wide and allowing Scott Redding also to pass within sight of the flag.

In the final analysis the entire four-rider group was covered by just 0.137 seconds across the line, with Razgatlioglu winning by just 0.007 seconds from Lowes - making this the closest finish in WorldSBK history. The 23-year-old Turkish rider also records the first win for Yamaha in Australia since Ben Spies’ championship-winning year in 2009, and subsequently takes an early series lead for the first time.

After celebrating a famous win for the Pata Yamaha Team with Rizla, the new R1 and ‘new boy’ Razgatlioglu, there will be two more chances for success for him and van der Mark on Sunday 1 March. 

The now traditional ten-lap Superpole sprint race on Sunday, at noon, will be followed by the second and final 22-lap Superbike Race Two, at 15.00hrs local time.

Toprak Razgatlioglu

Position: 1st

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! 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.

Michael van der Mark

Position: 4th

Our plan was to win and I felt I could do it. We knew we had a good pace and could do it all race long, but I did not want to lead the race, just stay behind some guys and save the tyre towards the end. The plan was working and I felt really comfortable; even quicker than the other guys in some areas of the track. But, I lost my drive grip and especially in the last two corners, I did not go forward. It is a shame we lost out on the podium places, we need to improve just a little to be there tomorrow. Congratulations to Toprak – together we have shown that the new R1 has made a good step forward. 

Paul Denning

Team Principal

What a start to the season! Since his first day on the R1 Toprak’s outright talent has been very clear. 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. On Mikey’s side I feel desperately sorry for him not to be at least on the podium. He rode a clever race, finished a tenth of a second from victory and fourth wasn’t really what he deserved. He made no mistakes and he and his team did a brilliant job preparing for the race. Michael will recover and I expect him again to be fighting for the victories tomorrow.

Paul Denning