While Yamaha has achieved some podium success at Motorland, acknowledged as a challenging circuit for the team, it was Razgatlıoğlu who made a break-through in 2022 as the Turkish ace smashed the pole position record with a 1'48.267 lap time – edging out current championship leader Alvaro Bautista (Ducati). A trio of third places followed – the team’s best overall Aragon results yet, but victory remained just out of reach.
Last year, Aragon was also quite a strong circuit for teammate Locatelli – who recorded two fifth place finishes – despite a small crash in Race 2 which relegated him from points contention in the final trial of the weekend.
A crisis of contrasts: good temperate conditions await in Teruel for the team and riders, but the circuit’s abrasive nature and demanding corners are always a challenge at this venue. Aragon is traditionally “not one of our best tracks” as #54 Crew Chief Phil Marron explains, though there are sections which still suit the key strengths of the Yamaha R1 WorldSBK.
“You need the bike to turn very well on the throttle without consuming too much rear tyre, as well as be agile enough to change direction with ease through the downhill chicane that leads onto the long back straight,” he says. “Of course, with a rider like Toprak, we also need reasonable braking stability – hard braking at the end of the back straight into T16 as well as the spectacular T1 and the run down to T12.”
The WorldSBK schedule kicks off at the usual time of 10:30 CEST on Friday morning with Free Practice 1.