WSBK champion set to test Yamaha MotoGP bike

Toprak Razgatlioglu on his Yamaha Superbike. Picture: WorldSBK

Yamaha’s Superbike World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu is set to test one of its MotoGP bikes later this year, the team has advised.

The Turk was the subject of speculation about a MotoGP switch last year, while on his way to a WSBK title which broke a six-year stranglehold for Jonathan Rea and Kawasaki.

Monster Energy Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli has now revealed that there are plans to put Razgatlioglu on a YZR-M1 during the upcoming northern summer.

It had been hoped that he would undertake such a test late last year, after the conclusion of the MotoGP season, but the WSBK finale in Indonesia got in the way.

“Last year, at the end of the season, at the end of basically the Jerez test, we planned a test for him,” Meregalli told MotoGP’s official website.

“But then Indonesia planned the last Superbike race, so he had to fly over there.

“But this year, based on Cal [Crutchlow’s test] calendar, we have to find probably one day that could suit his [Razgatlioglu’s] calendar and our calendar.

“It would for sure be interesting, and also he really deserves to have this opportunity because what he did last year was amazing.

“And not only me, but I’m curious to see him an M1.

“We already have a schedule, and there are two possibilities: one was in August and the other one maybe in June, but I’m not sure.

“We’ve already exchanged this possibility. As soon as we will be ready, we will then decide together when the right moment will be.”

It is far from inconceivable that Yamaha will have a MotoGP seat to offer for 2023, given the current state of play.

Honda is wooing the Iwata marque’s 2021 champion, Fabio Quartararo, who wants to see progress from the YZR-M1 before he re-signs, and Yamaha-contracted RNF rider Andrea Dovizioso is not sure if he wants to be racing when he turns 37 next year.

Razgatlioglu, on the other hand, tweeted last month, “I always had a MotoGP dream. 2023, why not?”

Quartararo was fastest of the Yamaha riders at the just-completed Sepang Official Test, with a 1:58.313s which left him seventh on the timesheet.

The six riders ahead of him happened to set times faster than his All Time Lap Record, achieved in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2019, while the Frenchman was exactly a hundredth of a second away from that benchmark.

Testing resumes this Friday when MotoGP goes to Indonesia’s new Mandalika International Street Circuit for the first time.

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