Rea Recovers to Eighth in Barcelona Race 2, Locatelli Avoids Collision to Salvage Points

March 24 2024

Rea Recovers to Eighth in Barcelona Race 2, Locatelli Avoids Collision to Salvage Points

Rea Recovers to Eighth in Barcelona Race 2, Locatelli Avoids Collision to Salvage Points

Pata Prometeon Yamaha riders Jonathan Rea and Andrea Locatelli finished the Catalunya Round of the 2024 FIM Superbike World Championship with positives to take forward, in light of a demanding weekend overall in Spain.

For Rea, an “unlucky” P13 finish in the Superpole Race saw the Northern Irishman start from the same position once again for Race 2, but fortunes started to reverse with strong progression in the opening lap to P8. He found confidence on his Yamaha R1 WorldSBK to battle spectacularly with Alex Lowes, Sam Lowes and Danilo Petrucci through the middle part of the main race. As the laps ticked down, Rea’s target was to push forward into the top five but he ended his second event with the team less than two seconds away after an encouraging ride.

The results were mirrored for teammate Locatelli, who took eighth position in the morning’s Superpole Race as a high point of the day. The 27-year-old was lucky to avoid a collision between Michael Rinaldi and Axel Bassani as the two crashed together in front of him on the opening lap of Race 2, forcing “Loka” to run deep into the Turn 4 gravel trap and lose over 13 seconds to the leaders. Re-joining at the very back of the field, Locatelli put his head down to grind his way through 20 laps and progress into the points – with a final lap overtake on Xavi Vierge earning him P13 at the chequered flag.

Now the Pata Prometeon Yamaha squad have three weeks to reset before WorldSBK returns to the TT Assen Circuit next month for the Dutch Round from 19-21 April.

Jonathan Rea – SPRC: P13 / Race 1: P8

“Overall, it’s been a very disappointing weekend, but we have made some progress – even if it hasn’t looked obvious from the outside – and we registered our first points of the season. Race 2 was a problem-free race, no issues, I just struggled starting P13 – you don’t have track position and you have to be a bit more aggressive in the beginning. When I caught up to the group, I had already wasted some tyre so I tried to conserve as much as possible to push for the top five when the grip dropped. I was catching but ran out of laps and the pace of the riders in front didn’t drop as much as I expected. There are some positives to take, it’s not where we want to be right now, but we move on to Assen and keep an open mind. The tide has to change, I feel like we’ve had a lot of issues thrown our way and we’re dealing with them well as a team, now we need to turn the page and do a good job in Assen – I’m looking forward to making a big step there.”

Andrea Locatelli – SPRC: P8 / Race 2: P13

“We finished today with an unlucky race – just because in the beginning a couple of riders wanted to go a bit crazy and didn’t have a mind to manage the race. I was close to crash when Rinaldi and Bassani went down in front of me, but I was really lucky not to. In the end, I enjoyed the races, I tried to push on the maximum and get the best feeling with the bike. For Race 2, I think we were more competitive than yesterday: we improved the grip and the life of the tyre, so this is something good for us and the team to understand the direction as well as to give us a lot of data. I can’t say that I’m really happy with the results but we are always pushing, every session, to try to do the maximum and we know that here in Barcelona it is not the best track for us. This is all we can say – I am happy about my level, happy about the guys because we never make a mistake and the R1 is working well, so let’s look forward in a positive way and see what we can do in Assen.”

Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Prometeon Yamaha:

“Catalunya has never been our “best friend” in the past, in fact it has been one of our most challenging circuits, and unfortunately today it wasn’t kind to us again. That said, from a performance point of view, the team, Yamaha and the riders gave their best and it was a relief after such a tough start to the season to see Jonathan get his first points on the board with a very consistent ride in Race 2. The race was definitely made more difficult by missing the 20 laps of experience and data from yesterday, but he was less than two seconds from fifth place at the flag so we’ll take that as a confidence builder on JR’s side as we head towards Assen – one of his favourite circuits. Loka has ridden fantastic all weekend, just as well as he did in Australia when he was on the podium, but he got extremely unlucky as he was forced to run off the track to avoid the crash of Rinaldi and Bassani on Lap 1. He kept his concentration levels to claw his way back into the points, and had the pace to fight for fourth position – so, like Australia, Loka’s best performing package was in Race 2 but bad luck has intervened. Whilst it’s been a challenging weekend, there are positives to take – as a group, we will continue to work hard and make sure Yamaha and the team is back where it belongs in Assen.”

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