Locatelli Close to Maiden WorldSBK Win after Securing Second in Superpole Race

February 25 2024

Locatelli Close to Maiden WorldSBK Win after Securing Second in Superpole Race

Locatelli Close to Maiden WorldSBK Win after Securing Second in Superpole Race

Pata Prometeon Yamaha’s Andrea Locatelli was painstakingly close to a maiden WorldSBK win in Race 2 of the opening round of the FIM Superbike World Championship, until a high-side at Phillip Island’s notorious Turn 4 hairpin.

After another sensational second-place finish in the Superpole Race this afternoon, the #55 R1 WorldSBK rider looked set to seal his first ever victory in the premier class – and fight he did as he led the field in the opening laps of Race 2.

The WorldSBK Sunday feature race took place later than expected at 17:15 local time (UTC+11) following delays due to conditions on track. As “Loka” got away at the front with defending champion Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) there was drama further back as Toprak Razgatlioglu (BMW) suffered a visible technical problem at Turn 9 on the second lap.

A lap later, Pata Prometeon Yamaha teammate Jonathan Rea – who had been making positive progress, taking more confidence from his R1 WorldSBK and fighting within the top six in the opening laps – crashed out at Turn 10 causing the race to be red-flagged. The Northern Irishman was taken to the Medical Centre for checks but released shortly after.

A new 11-lap Race 2 had Locatelli start from second-place on the grid once again – the Italian initially dropped back to sixth in the pack but he clawed his way through with some of the best overtakes of the weekend. Closing in on the lead and a three-way fight for the history books with Alex Lowes (Kawasaki) and Alvaro Bautista (Ducati), the team’s Italian rider was ready to make a move on Lowes when he devastatingly crashed out of contention.

Both Pata Prometeon Yamaha riders and the team now have two and a half weeks to reset and regroup before a two-day test at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya ahead of Round 2 of the season at the same venue.

Andrea Locatelli – SPRC: P2 / Race 2: DNF

“The feeling was amazing in Race 2, I think in the end this weekend we did a really good job and we never made any mistakes. Unfortunately, we are checking on the data and we don’t know yet what was the reason but the bike was in neutral – so then I was wide and when I tried to put again the gear, I made a mistake and I lost the rear. It is a big shame because everything was working well and it was just the last lap and we were fighting for the race win. Feels a bit like a bad dream, but at the same time I want to say thanks to Yamaha and the team because we were working well during the weekend – we were fast in every condition and every session in front – so this is for sure something good for us and let’s see what we can do in the next race. We will be on track for two days of testing before the Barcelona round, we need to improve a little bit more but the confidence on my R1 is good so let’s see what we can do.”

Jonathan Rea – SPRC: P10 / Race 1: DNF

“First and foremost, physically I’m ok, I hit my hip quite hard in the crash but no further injuries from Tuesday. They were two big crashes this week but I’m still in one piece thanks to Alpinestars and Arai. I’m really frustrated because the crash came as a big surprise, it was as I was building my confidence on the bike and feeling quite good. I took some “track profit” when Toprak had engine troubles and found myself in a good place in the race, but as soon as I started to feel really confident I crashed. We just have to rebuild from zero, look into everything and try to improve the feeling for me. You can see with how competitive Loka is that we can get there – I want to go home now to regroup, reset and come back stronger in Barcelona.”

Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Prometeon Yamaha:

“Ultimately, a disappointing end for Andrea after a simply stellar performance across the whole event here at Phillip Island. At the beginning of the 11-lap restart, he didn’t quite have the same feel for the bike that he’d had earlier, but as the bike came to him – he again showed his race-winning potential by grinding his way back to third position with every chance of winning the race given how he’s been passing other riders. The crash Loka had when trying to pass Alex into Turn 4 was so unfortunate and we have to say well done to him and his entire crew for their efforts. Everything that’s happened here, including another brilliant P2 in the Superpole Race indicates that he’s taken a big step in 2024. Whilst today was ultimately disappointing in terms of pure result for Jonathan – the steps taken in pace in the Superpole Race, finishing within five seconds of the winner and then showing his championship-winning aggression even after such a difficult weekend, by climbing from P11 to P5 and closing on the front group just demonstrated his determination to succeed. Obviously, we’re relieved that he got away with the Turn 11 crash and we’ll reset with JR at the Barcelona test and we’ll be looking for much better from here forward.”

Join the team!

Get behind The Pata Yamaha WorldSBK team and receive behind the scenes updates each race weekend!