While the season finale of 2020 in Portugal feels almost like yesterday, due to changing Covid-19 restrictions and a later season start date, the site of Yamaha’s first-ever WorldSBK podium lock-out (Superpole Race 1-2-3) was just over seven months ago. So, despite previous success and the Estoril circuit layout appearing to match the characteristics and strengths of the Yamaha R1 WorldSBK, both Razgatlıoğlu and new teammate Andrea Locatelli are respectful of the challenges ahead in their predictions for the weekend.
Turkish star Razgatlıoğlu comes fresh from his first podium result of the season after a thrilling battle with Kawasaki’s Alex Lowes for second place in Race 1 in Aragón, followed by two solid sixth-place results in the following races despite compromised tyre choices in the wet.
As Estoril was the site of the 24-year-old’s career-first pole position in 2020, followed by two wins and another superb podium in third place in the final race of the season, eyes will be on him to set the pace on the technical circuit which features plenty of overtaking opportunities across its 4.182km length.
Following a strong start to his rookie WorldSBK season, Locatelli is looking to repeat or better his performance on the R1 WorldSBK in Estoril with a clear aim of top 10 results and a qualifying position in the first three rows.
Both Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK riders return to the track in anticipation for their first chance to size up the competition, and vice versa, for Free Practice 1 and 2 on Friday starting at 10:30 (UTC+1) and 15:00 local time at the historical Portuguese circuit.