Incumbent WSBK champion Razgatlioglu failed to win the first two rounds of the year in Aragon and Assen last month, struggling to match the pace of both Kawasaki Jonathan Rea and the return of Ducati Alvaro Bautista.
Razgatlioglu has already slept 27 points from leading the championship in the final race in Assen, where a disaster with his main rival Rea 2021 has forced both riders to retire.
Now, facing a dire deficit of 45 points in the Bautista standings, Razgatlioglu needs a strong result in Portugal to regain his championship challenge and defend his first Yamaha WSBK title in ten years.
Razgatluglu manager and five-time world super-champion Sofuoglu has admitted that the 25-year-old’s results have fallen below expectations, but hopes the changes they have agreed to since then will yield the desired results.
“I can’t say that we started the season with Toprak the way we wanted or expected,” Sofuoglu said on the official WSBK website. “We are a little disappointed.
“Honestly, we sat together with Taprak and checked what we were doing, what we had done, and how each part of our life, training and mentality was going. I think we were wrong, and Toprak decided to make some changes. “
Razgatlioglu did not win until the ninth race of his titled campaign of 2021 in Misano, where Pirelli introduced a new SCX qualifying tire, which more satisfied the Yamaha racer.
However, the first data show that the competition this year is much tougher than in 2021, and in particular, Bautista is becoming a more formidable opponent than his predecessor Scott Reading on an improved Ducati motorcycle.
Explaining the changes made by Razgatlioglu on the eve of the round in Estaril on May 20-22, Sofuoglu said: “In general, every practice, lifestyle, mentality, and I believe we will have a different Taprak in Estaril.
“I will be there to support Taprak because we have to win. There were six races and he still couldn’t win anything and he’s a world champion, we have to win. Now we are building very well until the next round. “