Toprak Ratgatlioglu did not close the door to going down in the MotoGP class in the future. But he didn’t want to just appear modest and not compete for the title.
As the 2021 WSBK world champion, Toprak was predicted to ‘upgrade’ to MotoGP. However, the rumors slowly faded as the status of Yamaha, the current Toprak team, lost its satellite team from next season and has not yet been replaced.
With a contract with Pata Yamaha still remaining until 2023, Toprak is predicted to continue racing in WSBK next year instead of, for example, entering MotoGP to replace Franco Morbidelli whose contract also remains until 2023.
The opportunity to enter the MotoGP grid is fully open in the 2024 season. However, the Turkish rider does not want to just enliven the track without being able to compete for the championship. Rather than that, he prefers to stay in WSBK.
“I know the level of MotoGP is very high, but I also like the atmosphere of the Superbike paddock, it feels like home. Maybe one day I will move to MotoGP, but the condition is that I have to get a factory bike,” said Toprak, quoted by Motorsport.
“If I move there, the goal is to fight at the top. I don’t want to just be able to say ‘I’m a MotoGP rider’. I don’t like that, I don’t want to just join. If I can’t fight for the podium, I’m not interested. to MotoGP.”
“It would be great if you could move to MotoGP and compete at the top. But fighting for 10th position in MotoGP is really not interesting for me. It’s better to stay in Superbike, win lots of titles like Jonathan Rea did,” said Toprak.
Rea, now 35, has twice raced in MotoGP with Repsol Honda in 2012, replacing the injured Casey Stoner. At that time, he finished eighth in the San Marino MotoGP and seventh in the Aragon MotoGP.
Rea’s career was spent in WSBK, starting from defending Honda (2008-2014) to Kawasaki (2015-present). Together with his last name, he became a world champion six times, the most record for the mass-produced motorcycle racing event to date.
Meanwhile, Toprak has tested the YZR-M1 with Yamaha this year, to be precise at the Aragon Circuit. Even though he only got 40 laps and was interrupted by the rain, he admitted that he learned a lot.
WSBK 2022 will return to the Mandalika Circuit, Lombok on 12-13 November. Unlike last year, the race in Indonesia this time is not the end. There is still Australia’s WSBK which will be the final series, held on November 19-20.
Currently, Toprak is in second place in the standings with 335 points from eight series that have been held, 59 points behind Alvaro Bautista who is at the top. There are still four series that Toprak can maximize to defend the title.