Keith Huewen: “Yamaha would be crazy to ignore Toprak for MotoGP” | MotoGP

With MotoGP taking a weekend off, much of the attention of the two-wheeled world was on the Estoril WorldSBK event, where reigning champion and potential 2023 MotoGP rider Toprak Razgatlioglu narrowly lost to Jonathan Rea and Alvaro Bautista in three breathtaking races.

“Yamaha would be crazy to overlook Toprak for MotoGP next year,” said former British champion and Grand Prix rider Huewen.

“World Superbike is very watchable again thanks to Toprak, Jonathan Rea and lately Alvaro Bautista. That first race at Estoril between Toprak and Jonathan was just amazing – they were throwing bikes at each other! I’ve never seen anything like it.

“It was incredibly slick stuff. I think you would have called it reckless in the past, but because it was those two it was just awesome to watch. The hairs are standing on my arm while I’m talking about it!

“It was really something a bit special and Toprak is special. Jonathan too, but Jonathan is at an age where unfortunately – I always regret the day when Honda didn’t do what they should have done and gave Jonathan Rea a factory Honda.

“But Razgatlioglu is definitely going to MotoGP. I am absolutely convinced. I can’t believe he won’t have a MotoGP top in 2022.

“Money is the big deal for everyone right now and maybe having a few factory Suzuki guys in the mix means there’s a ‘sell’.

“But Kenan Sofuoglu, Toprak manager and five-time Supersport World Champion, knows the market very well. I can see Kenan being a very tough negotiator and Yamaha, well, what other choices do they have?

“Dovi will not stay as things have happened. If Morbidelli doesn’t start performing, is it likely to follow the same path? Meanwhile, you have Razgatlioglu waiting backstage at World Superbike.

“Mugello is traditionally the kind of weekend where future rider announcements are made. But another consequence of Suzuki’s situation is that, if I were in the team management, I would say “wait, there are still a lot of good riders available, let’s wait a little longer and see how things go. unfold”.

Toprak on a MotoGP bike? “He will love it! »

Razgatlioglu is expected to try a Yamaha M1 next month, presumably with the factory test team and therefore alongside Cal Crutchlow.

The Englishman is the most successful WorldSBK rider to take MotoGP into the four-stroke era, thanks to his three race wins, and would therefore be the ideal rider to offer some initial advice and guidance to Razgatlioglu.

But will Razgatlioglu’s style suit a MotoGP bike?

“It’s funny how the manufacturers have that kind of DNA in the way they make the bikes, whether it’s the production bike all the way up to the MotoGP factory bike,” Huewen said. . “A friend of mine recently bought a Ducati for a track bike and said ‘it doesn’t turn very well’ compared to his Yamaha.

“Remember that Valentino as well as the current Yamaha MotoGP riders all use R1s for practice and track days. So what I’m saying is that the DNA of the bike that Toprak is used to in WorldSBK will always be I think Toprak will get on the MotoGP bike and he’s going to love it!

“But Yamaha still needs to pick up the pace technically for 2023.

“Kenan was hesitant about Toprak joining a satellite team this year, and in hindsight it would have been a bad time for Toprak. But 2023 could be the perfect time.

Assuming all goes well at the MotoGP test, where could Razgatlioglu be placed by Yamaha in 2023?

Franco Morbidelli is the only rider currently under contract for Yamaha in MotoGP next year, but the factory is openly convinced that teammate and defending champion Fabio Quartararo will stay.

That would leave Razgatlioglu with only an M1 satellite option (on a factory bike), but that’s also contingent on the RNF team reaching a deal to extend his current one-year deal with Yamaha…

Podcast host Harry Benjamin then asks a listener question about KTM’s current situation in MotoGP and Brad Binder’s reliance on Huewen and MotoGP editor Pete McLaren before attention turned to the latest rider market rumours.

“I think Aprilia and Aleix Espargaro will find an agreement,” McLaren said. “I think they are going through normal movements at the moment. One part says they want that amount of money, the other part says we don’t have it and finally they meet in the middle.

“For me it will only become serious if Aprilia signs another rider before Aleix. As we saw with Ducati and Dovi a few years ago. Then you will know that there is a real problem going on with the negotiations. .

“There was also the prank video [above] by Aprilia, with Aleix refusing a contract and Aprilia signing Fernando Alonso! It was just kind of fun, but you wouldn’t say that if there really was a serious ‘wall’ between them in the contract negotiations.”

Paint it red: “Ducati should become Bastianini’s title sponsor”

The podcast trio then look back on some memorable Valentino Rossi moments at Mugello, before his #46 was retired, before making their predictions for this weekend’s race.

“I think it could still be Bastianini against Bagnaia,” McLaren said. “Speaking of which, when is someone going to sponsor Bastianini’s bike? Three wins, eight points off the championship lead and still no title sponsor.

“If I were Ducati I would step in while there is still time, make a deal and buy Bastianini’s bike and leathers in factory red for the remaining rounds. Bastianini is already under contract with Ducati, so why not actually become his title sponsor, he certainly deserves it.

“Red means Ducati in MotoGP, but in Austin and Le Mans we saw a ‘blue bike’ snatch victory from the ‘red bike’.

“If it had been a red Ducati versus a red Ducati, even though they are different specs, it would look so much better for marketing purposes – especially if Bastianini wins the world championship…”

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