Yamaha Won't Allow Toprak To Test The BMW Until December ....
From today's Presser:
The last weekend for many chapters is underway and whilst the big prize is still up grabs, other stories shared centre court on WorldSBK’s media day at Jerez

This is it then; the final round of the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has arrived and there’s plenty to be decided. However, whilst the title is mathematically still on, there’s a whole host of chapters about to be closed across the various teams, plus other breaking news. So, for the last time in 2023: the hot topics from Thursday’s interviews are below!

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK): “It feels like the perfect book-end”
The last weekend in green for Jonathan Rea, a close to an incredible stint: “It feels really different, the whole approach to the weekend. We know it’s the final page of our huge chapter in my career and it feels like the perfect book-end here at Jerez, to finish the journey that started here in 2015 when I won my first World Championship. I’m excited to get stuck in to the weekend and try to build on the past weekends. We’ve been podium contenders from mid-season onwards. Podiums are the target but we’ll start tomorrow with Free Practice. I’m full of ambition to make myself and my team really proud. Ideally, it’d be that we go out on a huge high with a euphoric feeling. On my 2024 crew, I have total faith with those who I’ll work with and I’m quitter excited too; it’s not very long to wait now. With regulations, you have to take time to understand but what’s nice is that the Championship is working hard to make it sustainably competitive for everyone.”

Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati): “I think the new regulations are necessary”
He can become a double Champion this weekend and take the crown on home soil but Alvaro Bautista is staying grounded for now: “It’s always really nice to race in Spain, especially here at Jerez. The Championship is not over because mathematically it’s open. I remember in 2006 when I won the title in 125cc, I won it in Australia, so it was far from home. Last year, I won it in Indonesia which is still so far; a bit closer but still far from home! This season, if we’re able to get the title here, it’ll be amazing because I can share it with my friends and family. I think the new regulations are necessary because you have to adapt to the new times. I will try the bike with the new regulations and let’s see. Maybe not the complete bike with the new regulations but parts of them we will try on Tuesday.”

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK): “Phil is always coming with me... I’ll never forget this; we are Champions together”
The title may be all but impossible but emotions are elsewhere for Toprak Razgatlioglu ahead of Jerez: “Firstly, I say I’m very excited for my last race with Yamaha after four years and also the Championship, we are still fighting but he needs just two points. I’m fighting for the win. I know Alvaro’s very strong, and Jonny is, but I’ll try to do my best again. The Teams’ Championship is very good for Yamaha and the team, but I’m always focused on the Riders’ Championship. I hope we do a very good job this weekend. I’m very happy. When I go to different brands, Phil is always coming with me because we are a good package. In 2019, he believed in me and started to work with me at Puccetti Kawasaki. Now, I’m going to different brand with him, not alone and I’ll never forget this. We are Champions together and we lose together. Next year, I will have more power and I don’t know what’s changing for me. I don’t know these two new tracks; I always like new tracks because I’m really fast to adapt.”

Andrea Dosoli (Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Manager): “There’s a clear agreement”
Talking about why Toprak won’t be able to test for BMW until December, Andrea continued: “As you know, it was our intention to go ahead with Toprak in the next years but he’s chosen something different and we fully respect that; Toprak is most probably the rider with the most brilliant future, considering his age and performance. There is a clear agreement in place until the end of November that I believe was clear to both of us to respect it.”

Shaun Muir (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team): “We asked for Toprak to test, but…”
Discussing Toprak’s arrival to BMW in December, Shaun Muir confirmed that they had tried to get the Turk aboard their bike sooner: “We asked for Toprak to test, but we must respect the contract that was signed back in the day and equally we’d probably ask to do the same. It’s just a shame that we couldn’t get him released to join that test like most of them are going to be here next Tuesday. That’s an opportunity missed; it’s a long four or five weeks where we don’t get any track action for Toprak, but it doesn’t mean nothing is happening behind the scenes for us to get the bike ready for him. We look forward to that first test in December. We’ve got December 4th at Portimao followed by another two days at Jerez.”

He also spoke about Phil Marron’s return to SMR and how important it is to keep Toprak and Phil together: “It was a logical step. I’ve had Phil Marron working for me in previous years, I know the quality he brings. The combination goes deep and far. He’s worked with Toprak through the most successful part of his career, so it was a logical choice for all parties. We’re glad he’s coming along and we’re glad he’s going to continue that progress with Toprak. Nobody knows him better than Phil and, for us, that’s a great DNA to have there. We look forward to working together again.”

Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing): “I want to give a gift to Motocorsa”
With a final weekend awaiting Axel Bassani at Motocorsa Racing, emotions – and of course, a party – are guaranteed: “It’s a special one. We had a long story with three years together. I started in WorldSBK with Motocorsa so it’s like a family for me. I’ll try to give 100% on the track to end the season with a really good result, try to enjoy it with my team and after, on Sunday night, we’ll have a party! I want to give a gift to Motocorsa to try to win the best Independent Riders’ title and end the season in a good way. I want to jump on the new bike to try to understand what I expect for me next season. It’s totally different to go from Ducati to Kawasaki. There are a lot of changes, I hope these changes help to be nearer to Ducati for the Japanese bikes. Andrea Iannone is a big name for WorldSBK and bringing a lot of light to the Championship. I’m happy about Andrea’s arrival, I hope to battle with him on track and we will see if we can beat him or not!”

Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati): “With the new team, we decided not to say anything”
His future may be unconfirmed right now but Michael Ruben Rinaldi says that 2024’s plans will be announced on Monday after Jerez: “What I want to do is end the season in the best way I can, giving my team a great result and sharing the last great moment together. Firstly, I hope the weather will help us with the sun but my approach will be working for the race from Friday morning. I’ll try to be fast and fight for victory. The situation is clear but with the new team, we decided not to say anything until the end of the race on Sunday. We’ll make an announcement on Monday; I’ll enjoy the last races in these colours and then think about 2024.”

Iker Lecuona (Team HRC): “The factory decided my spot and they put me in WorldSBK”
Remaining in WorldSBK and with Honda, Iker Lecuona’s future is now secured: “About my future, I’ll continue in Honda and I signed the contract for two years with the factory as a factory rider. I am happy about this and then the factory decided my spot and they put me in WorldSBK. We’re improving and if you look at the lap times from last year and the race pace and the gap to the winner, we’re better. However, the other factories improved more than us so we’re further away in terms of position. Jerez is a track where we struggle more but let’s see what happens in the race. The conditions will be tricky and it’s a bit cold but the cold takes some advantage for Honda, so let’s see if we can fight for the top positions.”

Philipp Oettl (Team GoEleven): “There’s no concrete plans”
Philipp Oettl’s future seems far from clear, as he explains: “At the moment, there’s no concrete plans. There was a lot of talk over the last few months, and, in the end, all the options went away. Now, I don’t have any real plans. Of course, I wanted to arrive with a contract in hand to be sure for next year but now the situation is a little bit different. I’ve considered moving to WorldSSP because you have to be open for everything. There were some options but, in the end, but I have to consider that I’m 27 and I’m doing a good job, but I don’t want to go into a test team. It was an option and still is. Endurance is a thing and so’s the USA. I’m open for everything but I know it’s quite late, but it has to be a good option. I have my personal goals and I still want to achieve them.”
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