March 04 2023
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Andrea Locatelli delivered an impressive double podium with a two-three finish in Race 1 at Mandalika, following a dominant qualifying for Yamaha in the second round of the FIM Superbike World Championship in Indonesia today.
Razgatlıoğlu led teammate Locatelli to the top of the time sheets in Superpole this morning, for the first 1-2 qualifying for Yamaha in nearly 13 years. The result is not only the best for “Loka” in WorldSBK, but leaves Razgatlıoğlu with a hat-trick of pole positions on one of his favourite circuits – unbeatable on single lap time since it was opened in 2021.
As to be expected, Race 1 itself was a gruelling hot competition which saw Razgatlıoğlu lead from the front for the opening laps until he was overtaken by Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista. Suffering from a drop in grip from his front tyre after around eight laps, the Turkish ace was unable to fight back for the win but pushed to the end to secure a hard-earned second position.
Locatelli had superb race rhythm – similar to his performance last weekend in Australia which also saw him score a podium – but the Italian rider only lost out in the race start. Running P5 in the opening laps, he recovered quickly to close in on the top three and made the crucial overtake on Axel Bassani (Motocorsa) on Lap 10 before extending a comfortable gap over his countryman.
There are two more chances for podiums and for either of the Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK riders to fight for the team’s first win of the season again tomorrow: the 10-lap Superpole Race at 10:30 local time (UTC+8) and full-length Race 2 to close out the weekend at 13:30.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – Race 1: P2
“For me, the race was very difficult because I try to win but after eight laps the front tyre dropped and I am just fighting all corners – I try to enter but I lose the front on right corners. After, I understand Bautista is very strong every lap – I don’t understand because he use the softer tyre but looks new. We need to improve tomorrow this and maybe bike set-up or tyre choice. We need to understand tonight and in Warm-Up because we have just one chance, but we will see tomorrow. We will keep fighting, I hope tomorrow we have the first win of 2023, I always try my best also especially today – many times I almost crash but I hope for tomorrow we can improve and I think maybe we are fighting for the win.”
Andrea Locatelli – Race 1: P3
“It was a strong race and unfortunately we just lost in the first part of the race, when I lost a lot of positions on the start – in the end I just needed to try and improve and recover the gap to the front but I think it was a little too late, so we need to try to be faster on the start better tomorrow. Sometimes we start very well, sometimes it was not easy like today. In the end it was a good result, P3, to be honest we were ready from yesterday because we started working very well but we did not know the rhythm of the other riders. It’s the first big result to start the weekend, and we have tomorrow the Superpole Race and Race 2 to try to improve the bike and fight for the podium again. It’s just the second weekend, but for sure it’s a good way to start the championship – so I want to try and take more good results.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:
“Our Saturday started well with an historic one-two in qualifying that gave us hope for the race. We didn’t win today, but honestly we can have no complaints about the efforts or performance level of the team and riders. In the end the package of Bautista and his bike was unreachable. Alvaro is the World Champion and he’s riding like a World Champion, but the significant weight advantage allowed him to use the softer tyre combination, with good performance for the full race distance, which was simply not possible for our guys. Loka was in slightly stronger shape than Toprak towards the end of the race, but with both riders we’ll look to see what we can do overnight to improve their R1 packages and do everything we can to try and win our first race of the season tomorrow.”