Something is finally moving in World SBK, with riders who are moving and changing teams. It is surely not a surprise as long as many moves were planned since summer, but until we got the official statement we cannot say anything about it. Anyway, after Scott Redding and Alvaro Bautista’s moves to Ducati and Honda, it was Yamaha’s turn to formalize Toprak Razgatlioglu in their family.
It was quite clear that Alex Lowes was about to leave the team at the end of the year and Japanese Team tried to sign Turkish rider from Puccetti Racing to make a big step up; Toprak will race then alongside Michael Van Der Mark, a really good and fast duo on the paper with both who already shown how quick they are. Razgatlioglu broke his relationship with Kawasaki even if everyone was waiting for him to join Jonathan Rea in the Factory squad, but at the end Leon Haslam will partner World Champion even next year and this was one of the reason why the Turkish wanted to leave.
Relationship was fully compromised at the Suzuka 8-Hour where Toprak did not go on track during the race where only Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam made their effort on the competition. Razgatlioglu searched then a new team to compete in 2020 and he actually found it. Yamaha made a considerably development during this years with Michael Van Der Mark who made some good result in the Championship; that is why this move looks so fascinating, with Turkish guy who could shine and maybe try to fight for the Title.
Eric de Seynes, Yamaha Motor Europe President, expressed his thoughts about this: “I am happy and proud that he will race for Yamaha in 2020, Toprak is the most exciting rider in WorldSBK. He is a rider that finds always a little extra on race day like his future teammate Michael Van Der Mark. We saw clearly that in Magny-Cours where he started from 16th and won his first race in WorldSBK. Yamaha has even closed the gap on his rivals on track, I am excited to see what Toprak can do in 2020. With Michael and Toprak we will have one of the strongest and most dynamic rider lune ups on the WorldSBK next year”