Yamaha rider Razgatlioglu has confirmed the #1 for the 2022 season after defeating Jonathan Rea in last year’s title showdown with his traditional #54.
The Turkish star’s title defense got off to a slow start as he didn’t get his first win of the year until the fourth round of the season in June at Misano, losing out to Kawasaki man Rea and Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista in the race for title.
However, Razgatlioglu has regained his form with seven wins from the last nine races, closing to within 30 points of championship leader Bautista with five rounds to go.
While Bautista suggested earlier this year that the disruption of a potential MotoGP move with Yamaha may have contributed to his rival’s lack of early form in 2022, Razgatlioglu himself offered a simpler explanation. : the pressure of #1 plate.
He said he plans to return to his traditional #54, regardless of the outcome of this year’s fight.
“This year, I felt a lot of pressure in the first races of the season because of how much I had on the fairing,” Razgatlioglu told Motorsport.com’s Italian edition.
“I was using #1 and felt a lot of pressure. But after the crash in Assen [with Rea] I forgot my number on the fairing and just thought about the race.
“I hope we become world champions again this year, but no matter what happens I will use the #54 [in 2023] and not #1. This year I used #1 for Yamaha, but if we win again this year, my dream is to continue with my number.
“I’m more comfortable with #54. You know, #1 is not always yours; on the other hand, #54 is my number, it’s my symbol, it represents me.”
Before Razgatlioglu, Rea carried the #1 in WSBK every season from 2016, the year after winning the first of six titles with Kawasaki, until last year, returning to his preferred #65 plate for 2022.
The last time the reigning series champion didn’t use the #1 was when Carlos Checa eschewed the number for 2012 following his title victory last year, sticking with his traditional #7 which he also carried in MotoGP ( pictured below).