July 14 2023
Andrea Locatelli and Toprak Razgatlıoğlu finished Friday Free Practice in fifth and sixth position respectively on the combined timesheets of the opening day of Round 7 of the 2023FIM Superbike World Championship at Imola today.
In sweltering summer conditions, track temperatures at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari reached well over 52 degrees Celsius during the all-important Free Practice 2 this afternoon. The session which normally allows teams to complete a “race simulation” in similar conditions to those expected during the weekend was plagued with red flag-stoppages, as many rider struggled with a lack of grip due to the extreme temperature. The Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK group kept out of trouble to complete a productive day despite the challenges, and preparations are well underway for qualifying and the points-paying races.
Alarms are set for FP3 tomorrow morning at 9:00 CEST with Superpole at 11:10 and Race 1 at 14:00.
Andrea Locatelli: P5 – 1'47.592
“It’s a good track for me, I have good memories and the feeling today was great. We started in a really good way from FP1, we found a good base set-up and just tried to ride a lot and do some fine tuning around my R1 – because the feeling is really good. I think we can be fast on this track – we just need to work on generating rear grip, especially for this temperature. If we can find a little bit more grip, something to help me be more relaxed on the bike, I think we can be really competitive. I’m feeling strong and now it’s important to continue like this. We know the rider that finished at the front was on the Q tyre, and we didn’t use it. So to finish the first day like this is a good Friday for us! Every weekend the objective is to try for the podium, but also to stay in the top five and take points for championship.”
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P6 – 1'47.661
“For me, it was not a bad day just I am feeling less grip with the rear tyre. I hope we are improving for tomorrow, but in general we did a good job – it looks like just Bautista and I tried a race simulation today with many laps. I did 14, 15 laps – even with the red flags and good lap times. Just two or three of my laps cancelled! Also my best lap was cancelled because I think I touched the green on Turn 22. But, I am happy – we just need to improve the rear grip and we will see what is possible. I am just thinking about the race now, 19 laps and you need good pace! It looks like we are strong, but for me it is not quite enough – with more rear grip we can ride more relaxed and ready to fight.”