Over the past year, Pata Yamaha WorldSBK rider and 2021 world champion, Toprak Razgatlioglu , has made the MotoGP paddock excited to talk about it. How come? With a great talent that has been recognized by many people, he often pushes about his chances of moving to the Grand Prix event. In fact, his presence was eagerly awaited.
Later, the Turkish rider even gave a hard code via Twitter, admitting that he did not rule out moving to MotoGP 2023. In fact, he had always admitted that he was reluctant to move to the championship. 2023, why not?” he wrote on Saturday (22/1/2022), which again makes racing fans curious.
If he moves to MotoGP in 2023, Razgatlioglu is predicted to occupy one of the slots in the WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team. The reason is, Monster Energy Yamaha as a factory team, is still under contract with Franco Morbidelli until 2023, and the contract of the reigning world champion, Fabio Quartararo, has a great chance of being extended.
On the other hand, five-time WorldSSP champion who is also El Turco’s personal manager, Kenan Sofuoglu, refuses to let his client defend the satellite team. This Turkish politician also said that Razgatlioglu would only go to MotoGP if he received an offer to defend the factory team. Sofuoglu’s confession was considered by many to be unreasonable.
The reason is, according to history, Yamaha riders who graduated from WorldSBK have always defended the satellite team first during their inaugural season in MotoGP. There are three racers who have gone through this stage. Who are they? Here’s the review.
James Toseland made his WorldSBK debut in early 2001, when he was only 20 years old. He immediately appeared competitive during and even ranked third in 2003 with Ducati. In 2004, he also won the title through Fila Ducati, and is still listed as the youngest WorldSBK champion in history, at the age of 23 years 364 days.
In 2005, Toseland ‘only’ sat in fourth place, and chose to move to Ten Kate Honda in 2006 and became runner up. In 2007, he chose to stay in the same team, despite an offer from Pramac d’Antin (Ducati) to move to MotoGP. In fact, he managed to win his second world title, which was also Honda’s last world title to date.
After winning two WorldSBK titles, then Toseland moved to MotoGP. He defended the Tech 3 Yamaha. His first racing week was also slick, finishing second in qualifying and finishing sixth in the Qatar MotoGP. Unfortunately, despite consistently fighting in the top 10, Toseland, who is also a musician, left MotoGP and returned to WorldSBK in 2010.
While still competing in the AMA Superbike, Ben Spies was predicted to be the next American star in MotoGP. Because, on his way to his third title at the 2008 AMA Superbike, he appeared very competitive every time he got a wildcard facility from Suzuki, namely at Donington Park, Laguna Seca, and Indianapolis. This makes it predicted to move to MotoGP in 2009.
However, The Elbowz instead chose to move to WorldSBK, while leaving Suzuki for Yamaha. Debutant status, Spies has never raced at any circuit in the 2009 WorldSBK calendar except Donington Park and Miller Motorsport Park. In fact, he actually shocked the world of motorcycle racing by winning the world title at the end of the season.
His dominance in WorldSBK also prompted Yamaha to move to MotoGP in 2010 to replace James Toseland at Tech 3. There, he won two podiums, and was then asked to move to the factory team to replace Valentino Rossi who moved to Ducati. While defending Yamaha Factory Racing, Spies collected 6 podiums and 1 victory.
Cal Crutchlow has been Yamaha’s trusted rider since 2009, when he took to the WorldSSP and won the world title. The following year, he also moved up to WorldSBK, still defending Yamaha, replacing Ben Spies who moved to MotoGP. He ended the season in fifth place after taking 10 podiums and 3 victories.
Not too ambitious to win WorldSBK, Crutchlow also risked his career by recklessly moving to MotoGP in 2011. He also defended Tech 3 Yamaha, again replacing Spies who moved to the factory team. Crutchlow defended the team for three seasons, collecting seven podiums before moving to the Ducati Team in 2014.
Only a year at Ducati, Crutchlow then defended LCR Honda for six years, bagging a total of 12 podiums and 3 wins. At the end of 2020, he decided to retire at the age of 35. However, now he is back in the shade of Yamaha, serving as their MotoGP test rider.