February 26 2023
Both Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK riders Andrea Locatelli and Toprak Razgatlıoğlu took third-place podiums during another exciting day of racing at the final day of the FIM Superbike World Championship season opener in Australia today.
Locatelli leaves Phillip Island second in the championship standings after a super consistent weekend, a culmination of a well-deserved third-place podium in Sunday’s feature Race 2 and strong fifth-place finish in the Superpole Race this morning.
For Razgatlıoğlu, his challenge for a top five finish ended abruptly on Lap 17, when the crashing Kawasaki of Alex Lowes collected the #54 rider after a mistake on entry of Turn 4 “Miller Hairpin”. The Turkish rider’s excellent podium in the Superpole Race this morning was of little consolation to a “non-fault” DNF so early in the season.
The team moves directly to Mandalika for the second round the season next week, a favourite venue for both riders where Razgatlıoğlu took a clean sweep of the races in 2022 and Locatelli shared the podium with his teammate as well as his first front-row start in WorldSBK.
Andrea Locatelli – SPRC: P5 / Race 2: P3
“It was an interesting race day for us! In Race 2 we were closer to the front in the first part, especially the first five laps – but we know it was a bit difficult to try to follow the Ducati at this track. We were competitive to also be on the podium this morning, but I could not make the passes needed to also be there in the Superpole Race. To finish the weekend with one podium in the long race, I am really happy – especially in Phillip Island, it is something special. I am really proud of my team because we are working well during the test and also in the race weekend. Unfortunately we crashed during FP2, and maybe we lost a little bit the feeling especially in the front but I think it is probably one of the best weekends in my WorldSBK career so far. Next week we have a new opportunity so we are looking forward to Mandalika and to see what happens there. Thank you to Yamaha and my team for giving me a great bike and such good support.”
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – SPRC: P3 / Race 2: DNF
“Normally we make good starts but the Race 2 start was bad. The big problem for the second race was that we must use the harder tyre. In the short race we use SC0 tyre, and with SC0 tyre my bike is great! Really good feeling, and in the short race maybe one more lap and I am easily passing Rinaldi for P2 because he was starting to have a big drop in grip. Second race, we used the hard tyre but the feeling is completely different, and especially in the first laps I struggled with the grip and my bike not turning. I just try to keep the rear tyre in good condition, I follow Johnny and try for best position in top five but I crash with Alex – not his fault, I was at his side – he is unlucky and crashing and his bike hit me, so I am more unlucky! Maybe I could have finished the race sixth, maybe fourth – I don’t know but anyway we lose some points. Today, Loka did a good job and I am happy for him and his team. This is just the first race, I will try to do my best in Indonesia because again I want to win.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:
“Three races here at Phillip Island in completely different conditions and three podiums for the team including a thoroughly well-deserved third place finish for Loka in Race 2. He’s worked hard all winter with his crew to improve the bike and his own confidence, he is starting to believe in himself more and feel that he deserves to be running at the very sharp end of WorldSBK. His performance over the whole weekend and especially this afternoon showed that this growing confidence is certainly not misplaced. Well done to Andrea, to his Crew Chief Andrew Pitt and his whole crew on a very strong start to the season. Toprak was again very strong in the Superpole Race, closing right on the back of Rinaldi on the final lap and nearly taking second place for his second podium of the weekend – but unfortunately Alex’s easy-to-make mistake on the entry to Turn 4 took Toprak down in Race 2. Toprak wasn’t in the same shape as Loka in this race, so the podium would have been very difficult but we missed out on a potential top five finish and valuable points. Nonetheless, we move on to Mandalika where both riders were strong last year and Toprak won all three races. We aim to start chipping away to the gap at the front of the championship next weekend!”