October 25 2023
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu, Andrea Locatelli and Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK look to finish the season on a high at Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto as the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship comes to a close this weekend in Spain.
“Jerez is an unexpected event this year following the Argentina race cancellation, but everyone has a good base set-up because we do a lot of winter testing and all the riders have done a lot of laps around there! It’s the circuit with the most reference for us, which is generally the same for everyone,” #55 Crew Chief Andrew Pitt explains.
The same well-known 4.423km stretch of asphalt awaits from Friday 27 October through to the Sunday 29 – with a split of eight right-hand corners and five shorter lefts. Three races – two feature length and one sprint Superpole Race – also await, and a battle with Aruba Ducati to take the Teams’ Championship, as Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK carries over a seven-point lead from Portimão earlier this month.
Jerez has been a success in the past for Yamaha’s official team: two podiums and a win for the R1 WorldSBK in 2019, three further rostrums in 2020 – two at the hands Razgatlıoğlu, plus an emphatic double victory from by the #54 rider in the two features races held in 2021. Teammate Locatelli holds a pair of fourth-place finishes from the same year – as well as a raft of race and test experience from his days in Moto2 and Moto3.
“Being the end of October, the temperature is cooling down – meaning there should be more grip than when we have raced there in the middle of summer,” Pitt adds. “The race pace should be quite fast and consistent, so a bike that can stop well is important because the main overtaking position is into the hairpin at the end of the back straight. In addition, we need to keep the tyre wear consistent for all the fast, right-hand corners which use the edge of the tyre a lot. Being able to keep rear grip for as long as possible is key and if you can get the soft tyre working well across the full race distance, you can give the rider the best package to fight right until the chequered flag.”
Friday in Jerez features a minor adjustment to the usual Free Practice schedule with FP1 at 10:30am (CEST) and FP2 at the earlier time of 14:00 – both 45 minutes in duration.
“Jerez Circuit, I like it a lot! Especially hard braking in Turn 1 – normally we are very strong there and I hope we can fight for the win again. I want to finish strong in my last weekend with Yamaha – we will see! Ok, Riders’ Championship is not possible – but I am motivated race by race like always. It won’t be easy but everybody tries their best, I think race pace will be very strong – not hot like the past. We will see on Friday in Free Practice and then in the race.”
“I’m super happy to be back on track because it feels like it has already been a long time since Portugal! We have a good gap to secure P4 in the Riders’ Championship – not a bad result for us, but in the Teams’ Championship we still have a good opportunity to win. Now, I just want to ride my bike and enjoy the last round with some good results. I think I still need to trust a bit more in myself to try to improve more. Every weekend we have the possibility to get on the podium, which is a good point and my confidence on the R1 is improving always, so let’s see what happens. I think we have had a good season, a lot of podiums this year – maybe a bit unlucky in some races, but in general I am super happy and I am looking forward to enjoying my last race with Toprak as a teammate. Let’s see what we can do!”