May 05 2023
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Andrea Locatelli completed a productive opening day at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, at the fourth round of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship today.
The Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK crew put their heads down and got to work over two 45-minute Free Practice sessions, in search of set-up and strategies to manage tyre life on the Calatan circuit’s long, demanding corners. Diligent work ethic trumped outright lap time once again, as both riders focused on long-run pace for the three points-paying races to take place this weekend.
The afternoon was punctuated only by a small low-side crash on entry into Turn 5 for Locatelli, who was able to recover his R1 WorldSBK to the pit box quickly to minimise time lost during the session. He finished the day sixth overall, with teammate Razgatlıoğlu also finishing a solid fourth.
Tomorrow starts bright and early in the Spanish sunshine with pit lane open for Free Practice 3 at 09:00 local time (CEST), followed by Superpole qualifying at 11:10 and Race 1 at 14:00.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P4 – 1'41.719
“First I say that this morning we did not start really strong, but now I am feeling my bike is much better. Maybe also I am not really strong on this track, but I try my best – this track has many long corners, you know – not like my stop-go style! But I try to change my riding a little bit, just try to keep more speed in the corner, more flowing. I did a race simulation in FP2, it was not bad! We did good lap times for 17 laps and it looks better than last year, but we will see in the race – the race is always more difficult! I am just fighting for the podium, we will try to follow Bautista as close as possible – first is important qualifying, I need pole position again!”
Andrea Locatelli: P6 – 1'42.079
“A bit difficult today, especially in FP2 – the temperature on track was higher but the feeling on the bike was not so bad, more or less similar to FP1, but when I tried to do the long run I crashed in Turn 5, so unfortunately we lost a little bit of the opportunity to work a lot to understand the tyre for the race. But anyway, we just need to know what we want to do for tomorrow – which is to find a little bit more feeling, especially in the front and to try to stop the bike a bit better. We will see what we can do in FP3, and then we will wait to see what is possible in Race 1. For sure, it will not be easy with the track temperature, but we will try to be ready and fight for the podium!”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:
“There’s no avoiding the fact that Barcelona has always been a tough track for us to perform at our best level, but today, the team and our riders have responded really positively to the challenge – and we’ve had a solid start to the weekend. Our outright pace is not bad and this afternoon’s very near race distance long run with Toprak was a big improvement on where we were last year. Loka had a small crash at Turn 5 – it’s easy to make a mistake on the downhill, off-camber turn in to that particular corner – but the positives are that he was completely unharmed, and that we were able to fix the bike quickly enough to get him back out to finish the session at a decent level. A better start today than perhaps expected – well done to the whole group and the riders, we’ll keep pushing tomorrow and try to maximise the results.”