Razgatlioglu dropped a bombshell last year when he announced he will be ending a four-year relationship with Yamaha to join BMW in WSBK in 2024.
The move attracted a fair bit of scepticism from onlookers, as BMW has struggled to trouble the frontrunners since it returned as a factory to WSBK in 2019.
Since its comeback, BMW has scored just a single victory in the top level of superbike racing, courtesy of Michael van der Mark in a rain-hit Superpole contest at Portimao in 2021.
Last season, the German manufacturer failed to finish on the podium even once, despite a slump in performance from Kawasaki making it easier to breach the top three spots compared to the previous years.
However, Razgatlioglu is optimistic about the potential of the BMW M1000R based on his initial impressions of the bike, and feels he could be contending for the championship in his second season with the marque.
“We’re not far behind,” the Turkish rider told Motorsport.com Germany. “I am aware that the first two tracks are difficult.
“On Phillip Island and in Barcelona you always have to manage the rear tyre. That is a bit difficult, but we will do our best. Things should go better in the races after that. I want to fight for victories on my favorite tracks.”
He added: “I want to win the championship for these people. That might not happen in 2024, but it will in 2025. I believe in the bike and I can see how hard everyone is working. That drives me on even more.
“When I see how the others are working, it spurs me on to work even harder on myself. If we work well together, then hopefully one day we will win the championship together.”
Photo by: BMW AG
Toprak Razgatlioglu, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team, Michael van der Mark, BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team
Razgatlioglu was able to test BMW’s WSBK contender on three different tracks in December after finishing second in the championship last year with Yamaha.
The M1000RR was repeatedly criticised by his predecessor Scott Redding, who has moved across to the satellite Bonovo team to make way for him at the factory squad.
But Razgatlioglu was actually impressed with how the bike behaved on track, and feels it could be improved further over time.
“Nobody believes in this bike and this brand, but I believe in BMW,” said the 27-year-old. “I am convinced that the bike is really strong.
“The first thing I realised was that the bike is really fast on the straights. That’s why I immediately had to grin on my first lap with the BMW.
“I felt a very strong engine braking effect at the entrance to the corner. That’s good, because I always had a lot of problems with the engine brake on the Yamaha.”
“The engine brake is really strong on the BMW,
“But we still have to tune it better. Because when I brake hard, I can’t yet play with the bike as well as I could with the Yamaha.”
Razgatlioglu, the 2021 WSBK champion, will get two more test outings in Jerez and Portimao to further hone the bike before the start of the season at Phillip Island on 24-25 February.
“If we work out a good set-up, then I can really enjoy riding,” he said. When we get the engine brake under control, then we can fight!.
“As soon as we have found a set-up for my riding style, we can fight for victories.
“I don’t know whether we can fight for the championship this year. I’m concentrating on podiums and race wins for the time being. Let’s see how things develop after that.”