Those of you who follow the Superbike World Championship will certainly have been thrilled by Turkish racer Toprak Razgatlioglu on numerous occassions. Up until now, he had spent most of his WSBK career under Yamaha, despite starting back in 2018 with Kawasaki. Known for his otherworldly skills on the bike and his impressive performance on the track, the Turkish rider took the championship in 2021, and finished in second place in the 2022 season.
For 2023, Razgatlioglu has been putting up quite an impressive performance, too. Currently in second place, the Turkish racer is putting in a solid effort. Being that he is 69 points behind Ducati's Alvaro Bautista, a win for the season is still very much a possibility. Nevertheless, despite his solid track record with Yamaha, Toprak recently announced that his time with Team Blue is set to come to an end with the close of the 2023 season. Indeed, with this announcement, any speculation about Razgatlioglu making a shift to MotoGP aboard Yamaha machinery has been dispelled as well.
O top of that, a statement by Razgatlioglu indicated that he indeed had an opportunity to go to MotoGP in 2024, however he didn't feel the same "connection" that he did with a superbike. In an article by Eurpsport, Razgatlioglu explained, "To win the World Championship was my dream when I signed with Yamaha, and we reached that goal together." He went on to say that he's looking for a new challenge. "For next season, I feel I need a new challenge, and while there was an opportunity in MotoGP, I didn’t feel the same connection with the MotoGP bike that I have with the superbike."
As for where Toprak will be going next, BMW Motorrad just announced that it has signed the Turkish racer to compete for the German brand starting in the 2024 season. That's right, from 2024, Razgatlioglu will be donning BMW leathers, and racing aboard the BMW M 1000 RR of the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team.
Hopefully Toprak's shift to BMW will bring success not only to him, but to BMW Motorrad as well. It's no secret that BMW has been struggling to be competitive in WSBK. In 2022, it was second to the last, ahead only of Honda, in constructors standings. At present, BMW sits dead last with just 62 points.
Sources: Motorsport, BMW Motorrad, WorldSBK