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Monday, March 20, 2023

Indonesian WorldSBK: Toprak Razgatlioglu: ‘I need Jonathan Rea to help me fight Ducati, he will come back strong’ | World Superbikes

While front grip was a huge issue for both Razgatlioglu and Rea in Mandalika, the former was able to claim podiums in both of the longer format races, whilst also winning the Superpole Race.

However, for Rea, the six-time Superbike champion was off the podium in all three races which has not happened since Estoril in 2020. 

On the contrary, Bautista appears to be stronger than ever, as do most other Ducati riders who have been able to get amongst Razgatlioglu and Rea during the opening few races, thus helping Bautista gain more points.

And although it remains early in the season, Razgatlioglu has revealed he is seeking help from teammate Andrea Locatelli and Rea.

“We will see in Assen and hopefully this season we are focused in the race with Jonny and we don’t crash,” said Razgatlioglu. “We need good positions, especially Johnny. It was not an easy weekend [for him]. 

“I think it’s a similar problem and the front tyres had a big drop. In hot conditions the Kawasaki is not working but Johnny is still very strong. He crashed in the second race but I believe he will come back very strong in Assen. 

“He’s very strong there. We need to fight Ducati and I need him. I need some help. Also, Loka is very strong in the first two weekends and maybe we are fighting Ducati together.”

Regarding his own performance at Mandalika, Razgatlioglu was strong throughout the weekend although Bautista proved unbeatable in the two long races.

Happy to claim his first win of the year, however, Razgatlioglu is still not fully content: “Important for me is the long race, not short race. But anyway, we did the win. 

“This is not easy because everyone this season is very strong, especially Ducati. All the Ducati are fast and normally it’s Bautista who is the strong rider, but now it’s a very good package – Bautista and Ducati.” 

Razgatlioglu confident of landing P2 in third Mandalika WorldSBK race without error from Rinaldi

On the final lap of Race 2 Razgatlioglu was gifted second as a struggling Michael Ruben Rinaldi went wide at turn ten.

But even without the error, Razgatlioglu, who was rapidly closing, was confident of gaining over half a second in the final two sectors to make the overtake. 

“If he didn’t run wide I think I would have passed him in the last sector,” said Razgatlioglu. “The last sector I was much stronger than him. Bautista stayed strong, he did the same lap every lap I think. 

“It was not possible to catch him. In some sectors the Ducati is very strong. This weekend we were not strong starting and we tried to find a good set-up. 

“Finally in Race 2 the front tyre stayed good and was not destroyed. In the race I was very strong but not enough because after the red flag I used again the same tyre. I used the SC0. after a few corners it was spinning a lot.”

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