No logic for the demand for MotoGP factory rides for Yamaha hopefully

It is no secret that it is not only the wish of many fans, but also of MotoGP organizers Dorna and the Yamaha factory team that their newly crowned Superbike World Champion Toprak Razgatlıoglu moves up to the premier class for 2023.

But after even more harsh comments from the Turkish driver’s management team, is that ambition still out of the realm of possibility?

Razgatlıoglu is led by former five-time supersport world champion, Turkish superstar and government senator Kenan Sofuoglu – and the die-hard retired racing driver has so far not been afraid to give his opinion on when his rider should switch to MotoGP.

The chance to move for 2022 was turned down by Sofuoglu as Yamaha held a spot on the satellite team for him and insisted that the main task initially was to win the production motorcycle series – a challenge he mastered in November and the first man of six became years to dethrone Jonathan Rea.

And with the title secured, it was widely believed that Razgatlıoglu would again prepare for a move to MotoGP in 2023, with possibly two spots available on the newly formed RNF Racing Yamaha team with both Andrea Dovizioso and Darryn Binder on board are annual offers.

But when speaking with German publication Speedweek this week, Sofuoglu apparently dashed that idea once again – and stated that he and his driver will be satisfied with nothing less than a seat on Yamaha’s factory project should they consider moving .

“I’ve already talked to Yamaha about it, they have a lot of interest in Toprak MotoGP in the future,” Sofuoglu told Speedweek.

“But one thing is very clear: it will only work if Toprak continues to win races in the 2022 Superbike World Championship. If Yamaha makes us an offer for the factory team, we’ll think about it. And only then. We don’t dream of MotoGP, Yamaha knows that too. We don’t drive for a B team either, only for the works team.

“Even if Yamaha will offer us a place on the works team, I’m not sure. I will be very careful with Toprak’s career. I don’t want to make a mistake and thereby destroy his good feeling. He’s really enjoying the race at the moment, I don’t want to ruin that.

“Razlan Razali (Team Principal of the Yamaha customer team) has asked us several times about the next season, but we are not interested. I made it clear to him that we would only consider the works team. “

But the whole point for him is; it is not that easy to ask for what you want and expect to get it.

Put simply, Razgatlıoglu (and thus Sofuoglu) are big fish in a small pond in the World Superbike paddock, with his status as reigning champion he has his choice of offers.


However, when he does get to MotoGP he will quickly find that his championship-winning record doesn’t weigh the same, even within a Yamaha factory that was previously in a similar situation.

That’s because Yamaha has experience switching very successful World Superbike riders to MotoGP – but never directly to the works team. Both Ben Spies, right after one of the most dominant seasons in history, and Cal Crutchlow, a race winner in his rookie season, did not change from Yamaha’s WSB team to the MotoGP factory team, but via an internship there – Tech3 Yamaha satellite.

In addition, it could be that Razgatlıoglu has no place in the inn anyway, as the reigning MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo is more and more likely to be with the team and with his teammate Franco Morbidelli for another two years beyond this season. to stay already signed a contract that covers both 2022 and 2023.

And Yamaha aside, the other factory options are just as unlikely for Razgatlıoğlu, who will be a 26-year-old MotoGP rookie by 2023 entering a championship where the last two champions were only 22.

It’s hard to imagine Honda taking a risk for a rookie when Marc Marquez’s long-term fitness is still in question, Ducati and KTM both have a full house of young talent, Aprilia is likely to keep their current lineups, and Suzuki is more likely to look for Moto2 as WSB.

With this in mind, Razgatlıoğlu could face a difficult lesson; that the only way to get your foot in the door in MotoGP is to take a step back from factory status.

Ironically, there may be no better example of this than the man he beat for the 2021 WSB title. Much has been made over the years of Jonathan Rea not finding a factory seat in MotoGP despite dominating the WSB paddock, but the reality is that the Northern Irish have received numerous offers over the past few seasons.

But since he, too, was apparently only ready to accept a factory seat, none of them quite hit their targets, which meant he instead stayed in the second row and dominated: something Razgatlıoğlu risks repeating if he doesn’t have a humble pie eat soon.