Lombok WorldSBK: “He’s pure talent” – Denning


Image: GeeBee Images

Paul Denning of Pata Yamaha waited 17 years to win a title, last weekend they celebrated the WorldSBK crown at every level.

It’s been a long way for the Crescent Racing team in the Yamaha WorldSBK effort to win the World Championship, but at Mandalika, Denning’s UK-based operation secured the biggest production championship of all, as a partner of Yamaha’s official technical efforts in Italy and Japan.

Winner of the BSB championship with John Reynolds in 2004, it is a new step for the still ambitious and motivated boss of Crescent Racing. Obtaining the titles of driver, team and rookie of the year with Toprak Razgatlioglu and Andrea Locatelli.

Still wearing his championship-winning celebration t-shirt two minutes after the group photo at the paddock show, Denning was asked if he thought the title might have been more or less decided two or three rounds before.

“I didn’t think it was done yesterday morning when we put him on pole,” Denning admitted. “Thirty points when there’s sixty-two up for grabs, and it’s become fifty, it’s not even close to being done.

“There are so many things that can go right, but so much can go wrong in a race. Also, the other reason we never thought like that is that you’re up against Jonathan Rea who won six titles, with a team that won six titles with him. They don’t miss a turn. They are absolutely on the spot, on and off the track. So that was never assumed.

“In terms of emotion, honestly I cried when he crossed the line. We let him down in a few races this year. He didn’t make one… Okay, he was wrong. when he left the track, but in terms of the result, crash, we did not have a single non-finish because of a driver’s error, out of 36 races. It’s ridiculous. No other rider can claim Not one. And he’s the world champion, rightly so, having won thirteen races.

Besides the two technical issues – a generator / charge issue in Catalunya and its fender brackets breaking and causing a crash in Portimao, the Yamaha was a much better bike in 2021 than it had previously been in. its pure track-to-track consistency. For all other Yamaha riders too.
Especially the lead pilot, it seems, and also his comments on the system which have benefited everyone.

“Obviously Toprak won at Estoril at the end of last year, but the biggest stage, and I’m not flattering, but the biggest stage is the runner. It has been a huge season that he has organized, but also the development that Yamaha has brought to the bike, focusing not on the big details but on the small details and making those details count.

“I think one of the biggest differences was developing the bike around Toprak’s needs. But it seems to have worked for Loka. Garrett [Gerloff] has had a season of ups and downs with a few things, but he’s clearly quick.

Watching Razgatlioglu, the new world champion, sitting in his chair in the Yamaha pit area as we walked past, Denning said: “The bike has taken a step, but the biggest step is the child sitting there. “

Watching Razgatlioglu roll is a joy for all but his rivals, but his brutal braking and total engagement style usually sees a rider of any skill level encountering the tarmac horizontally too often. Not Toprak.
When asked why, Denning simply replied, “The level of talent.

“You can choose any number of examples from this year, but the easiest one to choose would be FP1 here. A track that no one has taken a tour of. We all took a turn each. Dirty surface, inconsistent grip – a second and a half faster than anyone on the track… with the fact that Jonathan had a technical problem so he only made one out. So maybe the gap wasn’t that big. But, compared to the rest of the peloton, a very high quality peloton, a gap of one and a half seconds is just amazing.

“He’s pure talent, but a talent that has been honed in the way he trains with Kenan. A talent which is now just a little contained in view of its maturity. He is now able to keep the pin in the hand grenade and drive what you would call “smooth” for his style. I thought it was done today. I think Jonathan was obviously going to win the race. Four laps to go, I think we had two seconds to find, and I think another round, he would have tried to beat Johnny.

Razgatlioglu always says he just wants to win races, but there was some discussion about the bigger goal of the championship itself, which Razgatlioglu took into account.

“Yesterday, with three races to go, we discussed that for the first time this year we would be not only focused on winning, but focused on finishing. Because Jonathan would certainly be aggressive, and as they always are together, run together safely but aggressively. We thought, 62 points up for grabs here, if we’re going to follow Jonathan at home, then let’s do it. Today with the rain forecast this afternoon, anything can go wrong in a wet race.

“The goal was to treat this opening race as the last race of the championship, and that’s what we did. That’s why he’s gone so strong in the last four laps.

BSB Champions A few years ago Crescent Racing had been chasing a world championship in MotoGP and WorldSBK for some time, but now with Yamaha it has become a reality. So what does this mean for Crescent, John and Paul Denning’s former father-son team?

“I just hung up my dad at 3.30am or whatever it is in the morning (in UK). This is an important thing because from a business point of view it takes a lot of risk. From a personal point of view, there is a lot of sacrifice for other things that you can do in your life. So I can’t say that says it all because it’s motorcycle racing.

“We have lost championships very close, especially in British Superbike, and that doesn’t mean everything. It hurts a while, but from a professional point of view and from a sporting point of view, this moment is the best of 25 years in our history.

“John Reynolds won the BSB with us in 2004. We won three British Supersport titles. We lost three British Superbike titles in the last round of the year, which was a nervous feeling coming here!

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