May 06 2021
Yamaha’s young rider line-up of Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Andrea Locatelli signed off their 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship preparations with two constructive days of testing at MotorLand Aragón, in picture-perfect weather conditions this week.
Completing a combined total of nearly 350 laps, both 24-year-old riders put the finishing touches on their Yamaha R1 WorldSBK machines ahead of the season-opener at the Alcañiz venue, due to take place on 21-23 May.
The third Aragón test came as an additional fixture on the Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK planner, following inclement weather for Locatelli last week and Razgatlıoğlu’s absence from the team test programme in April following his diagnosis with Covid-19.
An eager Razgatlıoğlu re-joined his crew ahead of his second season on the #54 Yamaha R1 WorldSBK with a clean bill of health after undergoing precautionary medical checks in Barcelona on Monday.
For 2020 WorldSSP Champion Locatelli, the test was an important opportunity to take another step forward in his understanding of the R1 WorldSBK before his first race start in the premier class later this month.
The team worked on a mixture of race-length simulations, outright pace and final developments to end pre-season testing in an optimistic frame of mind ahead of the first round of the campaign. Locatelli and Razgatlıoğlu will next don their Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK leathers, race helmets, boots and gloves for Free Practice 1 on Friday 21 May.
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: 1’49.763 / 175 laps
“I was excited to be back on my Yamaha R1 after a long wait! Day one was ok, I enjoyed riding a lot, but day two was a positive improvement after we tried some new parts to find a good set-up for the first race. I felt the lap times were coming really good on the race tyres, but as always we will have to see what happens in the races. I think this year I am more strong, last year I was not fast at this track but this time I have improved physically and mentally. The conditions have been quite hot, and to test some new parts in these conditions and find some improvements is good preparation. Now we must put together the best package, but I am happy to be back and I feel ready for the first race.”
Andrea Locatelli: 1’50.702 / 174 laps
“It was better on day two compared to day one and in general, the feeling of my R1 is good. We have worked a lot and tried different set-ups, we also did a long run to understand the performance over a race distance. It was very good for me to do this because it’s important, but also it has not been easy for Yamaha on this track in the past so I want to work and push to understand where I can improve. The last test here was not so good for me, but now the feeling is better, like I had at Barcelona or Misano. I know my first race in WorldSBK will not be easy, this I expect, but I want to learn and to improve. During the race weekend we have a lot less track time, but maybe I can follow other riders and learn more – and then maybe on Saturday during the first race I can be in a position to fight a little bit. The weekend of the first race, with the emotion and energy, for sure will push me more compared to testing!”
Paul Denning - Team Principal, Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK
“Aragón’s weather was much kinder for this test, we had two beautiful sunny days and the opportunity to put in over 1,750 kilometres and improve our performance at this circuit. It was really good to have Toprak back on the bike after his enforced absence and immediately he was able to find his rhythm and significantly improve his performance potential at MotorLand Aragón compared to last year’s race event, both on the Pirelli SC0 race tyre and the SCX sprint race tyre. The race simulation this afternoon wasn’t quite as good as we had hoped, but was still an improvement on 2020 and has given us some really important information for the next steps. It was great to have Toprak around the team again, in positive spirits and we can’t wait to see him perform under race conditions again on the Yamaha R1. As a rookie in the WorldSBK class, there’s a lot to learn for Loka and his third visit to Aragón was the best test so far. It’s a tough balance when a rider has to learn how to get the best from the superbike in terms of technique, and also improve the machine from a technical point of view. Finally this afternoon, the guys found some points that helped him to improve his style and the race simulation was quite encouraging in terms of pace and consistency. We know that Aragón is going to be a challenging event to start the 2021 WorldSBK Championship but, with the great support of Yamaha and the whole group around the team, every possible effort has been made and we’re looking forward to getting back here to see what we can achieve!”