January 31 2023
The goal is clear for Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK and its riders Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Andrea Locatelli, as the team prepares to fight for the title in this year’s FIM Superbike World Championship.
In a bid to retake the “Triple Crown” in the ultra-competitive premier class, Yamaha Motor Research & Development Europe’s R1 WorldSBK development programme has delivered further updates and refinements aimed at increased rear grip and acceleration, as well as even better turning characteristics, to the R1’s already race-winning assets.
For Razgatlıoğlu and Locatelli, 2023 is their third season together with the numbers #54 and #55 side by side in the team’s pitbox. Razgatlıoğlu starts his fourth year in Yamaha Racing blue with an enviable WorldSBK record of 82 podiums, 32 wins, 26 best race laps and eight pole positions from 156 race starts – but it’s his 2021 Riders’ Championship title that the Turkish ace wants most to emulate.
Yamaha too is targeting the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ Championships, with the vital help of teammate Locatelli, after finishing as runner up in all three last year. “Loka” is also in search of his first WorldSBK race victory, having finished a career-best second place in 2022 and qualified on the front row for the first time. Increased competition across the grid means both 26-year-old riders, and the team, are aiming to deliver a “perfect season” in terms of their approach from the very start.
Pre-season testing continues today following an explosive start last week in Jerez that saw Razgatlıoğlu fastest on both days, nearly breaking the WorldSBK lap record. Two days at Autódromo Internacional do Algarve (Portimão, Portugal) lie ahead, where both Razgatlıoğlu and Locatelli will work to finalise technical developments ahead of the season-opener in Australia at Phillip Island from 24-26 February – with one final WorldSBK Official Test at the same venue.
“Everybody knows now, my goal is to win as many races as possible! It is not easy, because all riders are strong but I am happy with the work Yamaha and the team have done this winter. Good for me to be back on my bike, I am happy for this, and we have many improvements to try during the tests. In Jerez, I saw very good lap time, okay not the record but very close – now we continue working, because we cannot stop. It is nice to see the new Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK colour – looks good I think! We keep working now to continue make everything better, but very soon we are ready to race.”
“It has been a really short winter, which for a rider is good! I am really happy to start the season again – for sure my objective is to continue to work step-by-step, but I think we can do very well this year. We finished the season in a good way in Indonesia and Australia, of course I want to close the gap to the front and fight for the podium, and to try to win! Last week in Jerez was just the first two days in the dry, so we still have some work to do these days in Portimão, but I am looking forward to the first round in Australia. The bike looks really nice, with the new colours and everything, and it is great to continue with Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK for our third season together.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:
“Winning 14 races in 2022 was a great achievement, but for 2023 Yamaha R&D in Milan and the team have been working hard to find more improvements which will allow Toprak and Andrea to further exploit the strengths of the Yamaha R1 WorldSBK, and to start the season full of confidence. For Toprak the goal is clear – to regain the World Championship title. We need to start the year more strongly and to deliver a “perfect season” as a team. It won’t be easy, but we are committed to the target. Andrea improved a lot in the final events of 2022, returning to the podium in Indonesia to consolidate fifth in the overall standings, and we have high hopes that he will be able to raise his game in 2023. “Loka” knows how to win – and we believe he has the ability to do it on the R1 WorldSBK. Jerez last week was a good start, with Toprak quickest on both days and a positive test for Loka, and now we have an excellent opportunity with two clear days forecast here in Portimão to help finalise our package for 2023 before the first round in Australia.”