until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Is Yamaha Superbike champion’s MotoGP switch demand outdated?

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Toprak Razgatlioglu will only move up to MotoGP if offered a factory ride – but Andrea Dovizioso believes there is no on-track difference between a works seat and a satellite ride with a factory contract.

Dovizioso, 36, has ridden for three separate satellite MotoGP outfits years apart. He began his premier-class career with a Scot Racing Honda, had a successful season with Tech3 Yamaha once leaving Honda, and is now effectively seeing out his premier-class career with the Petronas SRT-turned-RNF squad.

Razgatlioglu is Yamaha’s reigning World Superbike champion and has long been touted for a switch to MotoGP – but his manager, World Supersport legend Kenan Sofuoglu, has made it clear that the only way Yamaha would be able to entice his protege would be with a factory team ride.

When Dovizioso was asked about this at Assen, he said: “I think if you have a chance to start with a factory team, it’s always better, if you are considered one of the top riders. That’s OK.

“But in this moment to start with the satellite team, with a factory contract and factory support, doesn’t change anything.

“In my opinion, MotoGP has now changed a lot, and it’s not too important [to be at a factory team].

“If you are in a good team and you have the good engineers, it’s not a problem at all. Especially if you have a factory contract and factory support.

“If they believe in you, they can give you exactly the same things.”


It is a moot point for Razgatlioglu for 2023 anyway, with Yamaha losing its satellite team to Aprilia and having its works line-up firmed up.

But the manufacturer – having expressed surprise at RNF’s decision – will evaluate finding a new partner team for 2024 onwards.

Dovizioso said the factory-satellite ride conundrum “depends on which company you are speaking about” – but, despite his own dreadfully difficult season with a satellite Yamaha right now, said there is no issue with the level of support provided by the firm.

“I don’t have any problem about that!” he said. “I think there is some other problem, but I don’t have a problem with Yamaha – I think Yamaha can make something better overall [for both factory and satellite riders], it’s not about me, to be clear.

“But the difference if you are in the factory team it’s just you have money to do what you want [off-track] – travelling and hospitality and those things. Because if the bike is the same, and if you have the factory support, the engineers are the same, the engineers make the same meeting, they are doing everything together, always the same thing.

“That’s why it doesn’t change if you are in a factory team or not. The difference is the relationship you have with your [chief] engineer, and if the engineer has the experience of the manufacturer and knows how to manage the things.

“It’s not about being in the factory team and you have more support or better material. If they want, they can give you everything.”

When WSBK champions move to MotoGP

Troy Bayliss – 2003 MotoGP move with Ducati (factory team)
Colin Edwards – 2003 MotoGP move wity Aprilia (factory team)
Neil Hodgson – 2004 MotoGP move with d’Antin Ducati (privateer)
James Toseland – 2008 MotoGP move with Tech3 Yamaha (satellite team)
Ben Spies – 2010 MotoGP move with Tech3 Yamaha (satellite team)

Dovizioso’s point is relevant not just for Razgatlioglu but for the likes of Enea Bastianini and Jorge Martin – who will both head into 2023 with factory Ducati contracts, yet with only one of them getting to wear factory Ducati red.

Though Ducati has emphasised that they will have the same on-track package, it is clear both Martin and Bastianini are keen to secure the ride alongside Francesco Bagnaia.

Quartararo: Razgatlioglu needs to be ‘fully motivated’ to switch


Razgatlioglu completed a Yamaha MotoGP test at Aragon in June, logging 40 laps – with test rider Cal Crutchlow present as reference.

Yamaha’s reigning MotoGP champion Fabio Quartararo said of Razgatlioglu and his test: ” For me he’s an extremely talented rider, you can see on his riding style how much he pushes the bike.

“I saw also the save he did in Estoril [in the Superpole Race], I think on the last chicane.

“The way he’s riding the Yamaha on the limit, I think he has the potential to jump into MotoGP.

“Of course it [the M1] is a totally different story than Superbikes, I think he knows from the test of Aragon that it’s a much more rigid bike, much more different to ride.

“But for sure if he’s fully motivated to really be on MotoGP, I think he can be a really fast rider.”

Quartararo is contracted with Yamaha through 2024, while his team-mate Franco Morbidelli – currently struggling for results – has a deal running until the end of 2023.

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