Toprak: all the secrets of the new superbike star

7/9/2021

 Toprak Razgatlioglu is the new star of world motorcycling.

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24 years old, Turkish, protegé of the great Kenan Sofuoglu who was five times World Supersport Champion: Toprak Razgatlioglu is the new star of world motorcycling, as he has shown in the first four rounds of the World Superbike Championship and at Donington Park in particular, on asphalt that had become slippery with the rain.​



 

In the first 12 races of 2021, the Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK rider has won 3 times (twice at Donington Park and once at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli), come 2nd four times and 3rd twice beating Jonathan Rea, undisputed winner for the last six years with Kawasaki, to the top of the rankings. 


These feats have attracted the attention of the MotoGP teams especially after Maverick Viñales said farewell to Yamaha which is having a domino effect on the other riders. Some thought that Razgatlioglu would have moved into MotoGP but in Assen, the official Yamaha Superbike team announced that his contract would be renewed for another 2 years. 


Razgatlioglu made his mark participating in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup in 2013-2014. In 2015, he dominated the European Superstock 600 Championship winning 5 times and coming 3rd twice in the 7 races. After leaving the 600 class, he moved into the 1000 one, first in the Superstock championship and then in the World Superbike Championship where he made his debut in 2018. ​

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Toprak has always celebrated his wins with a stoppie, a sort of reverse wheelie. In fact, it isn’t the front wheel that comes off the ground, which is a rather easy feat when you have motorcycles with one hundred plus horsepower, especially if combined with contained weight – the minimum weight for MotoGP motorcycles is 157 kg (346 lbs), 168 kg (370 lbs) for Superbikes and 217 kg (478 lbs) for Moto2 motorcycles (rider included). 


His control of the bike is without doubt exceptional as demonstrated by the numerous stoppies he does where he manages to turn the bike 90° on its front wheel. His usual plan of action includes entering the pit lane at 80 km/h (50 mph) in second gear and then applying pressure of 12-14 bar to the front brake. 


When the rear wheel lifts, Razgatlioglu reduces the pressure to 2-3 bar, maintaining his balance. Then he moves into 1st gear and uses the rear brake to return to the ground. He did this in Assen too after winning Race 2 where those 25 points took him to the top of the rankings. 


However, he didn’t succeed in doing this stunt after the win in Race 1 the day before when he had started off 13th on the grid but there again, he didn’t even try. Once over the finishing line, Razgatlioglu ran out of fuel and had to be helped by his fellow riders back to the pits. 


Toprak’s father, the famous Arif Razgatlioglu, was a stuntman. He was nicknamed Tek Terek Arif, ‘Single wheel’, because of his ability to ride with the front tire off the ground. Toprak rode a motorbike, a Yamaha PW50, for the first time when he was just five years old, at the age of eight, he began to compete and when he was just thirteen years old, he rode Supersport bikes. ​

The stoppies are made possible by the incredibly light weight of the Brembo brake components and Marchesini wheel rims: a set of 17’’ magnesium forged rims weighs just 6 kg (13.23 lbs), whereas a pair of 4-piston monobloc calipers for a MotoGP motorcycle is no heavier than 1.5 kg (3.31 lbs), since they are made from a block of aluminum-lithium. 


Clearly, to do a stoppie, you have to be decisive with the front brake and ignore the rear one. The position of the body is also very important - the elbows must not be locked whereas the knees must be virtually squeezed around the fuel tank. 


As the tenths of a second pass, pressure on the front brake should be progressively reduced to avoid flipping over. In these phases, the rear wheel is off the ground and the rear brake should be used only when it begins its descent. 


Using the rear brake in the first phases of the stoppie would instead block rotation of the rear wheel and affect the overall balance of the motorcycle and the rider. Leaning the torso forward in an unnatural position would also be a mistake because it would affect the overall rider-motorcycle center of gravity. ​



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To do one, the World Superbike riders apply 7.2 kg (15.88 lbs) or 6.5 kg (14.33 lbs) of load on the brake lever, depending on the diameter of the master cylinder used, as opposed, for example, to the 6.1 kg (13.45 lbs) applied on the first turn in the Qatar round, at the end of a 1,068-meter (1,168-yard) straight. 


As you have probably guessed, high energy intensity is not needed because braking takes place at low speed. However, good braking torque is useful, the value of which is directly proportional to the radius of the disc, the friction coefficient and the clamping force of the caliper. 


Obviously, a brake master cylinder that can guarantee responsive, modulated braking is essential. Thanks to the experience gained in designing hydraulic, kinematic and ergonomic components, Brembo master cylinders stand out for the linearity between the applied force and braking response.



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In any case, stoppies do not have any particular negative impact on a track motorcycle’s braking system since they are done in the pit lane. The rider’s low speed on the re-entry lap ensures that the pad and brake fluid temperature is rather low so the system does not risk any thermal stress. 


Nevertheless, these antics are frowned upon by various team managers. Not so much because of the risk of ruining any mechanical components, although there are those who worry about the oil in the crankcase moving around, as for the danger of falling, sustaining a stupid injury, breaking some parts of the motorcycle or even just looking foolish in front of all the cameras. ​



 

It is hardly surprising that, of all the stunts that can be done on two wheels, the stoppie is considered the most dangerous since the rider doesn’t have an unobstructed view of the move. For this reason, Brembo highly recommends not attempting it on public roads or on the track. ​


 
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Brembo S.p.A. | P.IVA 00222620163

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