until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


New contract rules out top Petronas Yamaha MotoGP contender

by Simon Patterson
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

The 2022 Petronas Yamaha MotoGP line-up has become a little clearer this morning with the news that Turkish World Superbike star Toprak Razgatlıoğlu will remain in the production racing championship for another two years, after the 24-year-old signed today to extend his deal with Yamaha until at least 2024.

Jun 29 : Why Vinales is ditching Yamaha for Aprilia

The Yamaha rider was seen as one of the prime candidates to step into the two seats vacated by the retiring Valentino Rossi and Franco Morbidelli, the latter set to step up to the factory team next year to replace Aprilia-bound Maverick Vinales.

Currently second in the WSB championship, only 24 years old and representing an important demographic for MotoGP, he was tipped as one of the likely candidates on the hotlist – but today’s announcement rules out that chance now.

Toprak Razgatlioglu Yamaha World Superbike

“Yamaha has become like my family and I’m really happy to be signing for another two years,” he said in a press release. “We are fighting for the championship this year, we’re very close to the top and I have the best people around me in the Pata Yamaha with Brixx team pit box to help me achieve my goals.

“I like the WorldSBK paddock, and I’m happy racing here. Maybe MotoGP is something I will think about in the future, but for now I am focused completely on getting the job done here in WorldSBK.”

But with Razgatlioglu set to be 26 by the time the chance comes around again to sign for a MotoGP team, it means that his odds of making the jump to a series where the average age is already 26 are now increasingly small, especially given the young talent coming through the Moto2 and Moto3 fields.

It means that the chances of another Yamaha World Superbike racer getting the nod increase, though, with Garett Gerloff’s replacement ride for the injured Morbidelli last weekend in Assen proving an even more important weekend for the Texan.

Downplaying his own chances of getting the ride when asked about it at Donington Park’s WSB round this weekend, he nonetheless admitted that it’s something that he’s always aspired to.

Garrett Gerloff Petronas Yamaha MotoGP

“I haven’t heard anything at the moment,” he said after his debut MotoGP race last weekend, “and I’m really happy with the team in World Superbikes.

“That’s definitely my main focus at the moment, and I just want to keep focusing on doing the best job I can. It’s always been my dream to go to MotoGP someday though, and I’d definitely like to end up there.”

On the other side of the garage, the rumours continue to suggest that it’ll be a British rider who steps into Rossi’s boots, with the Malaysian team’s Moto2 rider Jake Dixon the hot tip – although there have also been suggestions in recent days of Petronas interest in fellow Brit Sam Lowes, who has been enjoying something of a renaissance in the middleweight class of late.

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