The reigning WorldSBK champion remains without a win through two rounds (six races) as Alvaro Bautista and Jonathan Rea have instead dominated proceedings.
There’s been nothing wrong with Razgatlioglu’s speed – clinched pole position at both Aragon and Assen, including a new lap record at the Dutch circuit. However, the Turkish rider has struggled with a lack of front-end grip which has resulted in him fading just enough to give Bautista and Rea the edge in race situations.
While unlikely given the form Rea was showing in Assen, there could have been another chance to claim his first win of the season during race two, a race the Pata Yamaha rider was leading before contact with Rea led to both riders crashing out.
It meant Bautista took an easy win, his third of the season, which in turn has put Razgatlioglu 45 points behind the Ducati rider, a margin that holds significance as it’s already a bigger gap than what he trailed Rea at any stage last year.
“About the season, with Toprak, I can’t say we started the season as we wanted or as we expected,” Sofuoglu told WorldSBK.com. “We are a little bit disappointed.
“Honestly, we sat together with Toprak, and we checked what we do, what we’ve done and the way of every single part of our life, training and mentality. I think we were not correct, and Toprak decided to make some changes .”
Fighting talk from the WorldSBK champion’s manager…
Describing what changes have been made, Sofuoglu claimed Razgatlioglu’s ‘way of living, way of mentality’ has changed.
“In general, every single practice, way of living, way of mentality, and I believe we will have a different Toprak at Estoril,” Sofuoglu continued, “I will be there to support Toprak especially because we have to win. There’s been six races and still he couldn’t win anything, and he is World Champion, we have to win. Now, we are building very well for the next round.”
Given the fact Razgatlioglu is the reigning world champion, but also the only rider to beat Rea since the latter joined Kawasaki in 2015, the changes made are fairly substantial as last season proved to be a fairly dominant campaign by the potential 2023 MotoGP rider.
Does Razgatlioglu need to win at Estoril to keep his title hopes alive?
The good news regarding Estoril if you’re a Razgatlioglu fan, is that he’s been phenomenal at the Portuguese circuit in the past.
It’s both a track that suits the R1, but also his unique riding style. And although Rea won at Estoril last season – Bautista is yet to do so – Razgatlioglu will likely start as the favourite.
Although the 2022 season is only two rounds in, meaning there are another 30 races to go, winning in Estoril is already feeling like a must-have for the 25 year-old.
Round three of the season take place at the Circuito Estoril on May 20-22.