Defending WSBK champion Razgatlioglu failed to score a win in the first two rounds of the year at Aragon and Assen last month, struggling to keep pace with Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea and the returnee from Ducati Alvaro Bautista.
Razgatlioglu had already dropped 27 points from the championship lead before the final race in Assen, where an accident with arch-rival Rea in 2021 forced both drivers to retire.
Now facing a whopping 45-point deficit in the riders’ standings to Bautista, Razgatlioglu needs a strong result in Portugal to get his championship challenge back on track and defend Yamaha’s first WSBK title in over a decade. .
Razgatlioglu’s manager and five-time Supersport world champion Sofuoglu has admitted the 25-year-old’s results have so far fallen short of expectations, but hopes the changes they have since agreed will give the desired results.
“As for the season, with Toprak, I can’t say that we started the season the way we wanted or hoped,” Sofuoglu told the official WSBK website. “We are a bit disappointed.
“Honestly, we sat down with Toprak and checked what we do, what we did and how every part of our life, training and mentality. I think we weren’t right , and Toprak decided to make some changes.
Razgatlioglu did not claim a victory until the ninth race of his winning campaign in 2021 at Misano, where Pirelli presented a new SCX qualifying tire that better suited the Yamaha rider.
However, early evidence suggests the competition this year is much tougher than in 2021, with Bautista in particular emerging as a tougher rival than his predecessor Scott Redding on an upgraded Ducati bike.
Explaining the changes Razgatlioglu has made ahead of the May 20-22 Estoril Round, Sofuoglu said: “In general, every practice, way of life, way of mentality, and I think we will have a Toprak different in Estoril.
“I will be there to support Toprak because we have to win. There have been six races and he still hasn’t been able to win anything, and he is world champion, we have to win. Now we are building very well for the next round.