Superstock 600: All over bar the shouting
Toprak Razgatlioglu has fast become one of the hottest names on the market in motorcycle road racing. The stunning Turk collected the FIM Europe Superstock 600 Championship title last time out at Misano and was expected to join the Superstock 1000 class for the last two races of the season, ahead of a full-time debut there next year. However, that has been delayed until 2016, which means the remarkable 18-year-old can enjoy his last two races in the smaller category.
Razgatlioglu – protégé of three-time World Supersport Champion Kenan Sofuoglu and competing with the same Kawasaki Puccetti Racing team – has been nothing short of phenomenal this year. The exceptional talent has won every race except the last one, in which he claimed the title with a third place finish; in fact, having debuted in the class at the final race of 2014, this was the first time he had not crossed the finish line in first position. However, his 100% podium finish rate remains, while his ability and confidence to race in large packs of riders is clear for all to see. However, his exact condition at Jerez remains to be seen as, just under three weeks ago, Razgatlıoglu suffered a training incident in which he fractured his left collarbone.
Clearly, with the title decided, all attention has turned to the fight for runner-up spot. It is currently held by Italian hotshot Federico Caricasulo (PATA-Honda Junior Team); he clinched his first victory last time out at Misano and, since then, has competed in and successfully finished the Moto2 World Championship British Grand Prix at Silverstone in tricky conditions. 13 points behind Caricasulo in the ongoing Superstock 600 contest is compatriot Michael Ruben Rinaldi (San Carlo Team Italia), who has finished on the podium three times this year as opposed to Caricasulo’s four. A further six points in arrears is Finland’s Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing and twice a podium finisher), while a further seven points behind and completing the top five is another Italian, Rinaldi’s team-mate Andrea Tucci (a podium finisher at Imola).
A Spanish rider will make his FIM Europe Superstock 600 debut at Jerez, as Abian Santana takes part as a wildcard with a Yamaha for the Autos Arroyo Pastrana Racing Team. Two riders will join the action as One Event riders; the Ukraine’s Ilya Mikhalchik will race a Kawasaki for the DS Junior Team, having already competed in five races earlier this season, while Italy’s Rodolfo Oliva is on a Yamaha with Team MotoxRacing – this will be his fourth outing of the season.
The Superstock 600 class will blast into action at Jerez with Free Practice 1 from 9:30am local time (GMT +2) on Friday. The race will take place at 5:50pm on Saturday and, as ever, can be watched live on WorldSBK.com.
FIM Europe European Superstock 600 Championship (6 of 8 rounds completed)
1 – Toprak Razgatlioglu Kawasaki Puccetti Racing 141*
2 – Federico Caricasulo Pata Honda Junior Team 86 (-55)
3 – Michael Ruben Rinaldi San Carlo Team Italia Kawasaki 73 (-68)
*Already crowned the 2015 Champion