April 21 2023
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Andrea Locatelli returned to the track for the first day of action at the historical TT Circuit Assen, host to the third round of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship, today.
After six weeks away from WorldSBK competition, bar a two-day test held in Barcelona earlier this month, the pair got back to work in Free Practice to work alongside their respective crews on race set-up for the fast and flowing Dutch venue.
Neither rider completed a “time attack” during the day, focusing on what is needed to perform in the point-paying races alone – as well as assessing the best tyre choice given the now dry forecast for tomorrow. While positives could be drawn from long runs on track, the team is continuing to work overnight to find adjustments to give Razgatlıoğlu and Locatelli the best feeling and confidence on their official Yamaha R1 WorldSBK machines to be in the fight when the lights go out at 14:00 local time (CEST) for Race 1 tomorrow afternoon.
They will have one more opportunity to evaluate the on-track performance of the package at 09:00 tomorrow morning with a 30-minute Free Practice 3 before Superpole qualifying at 11:10.
Andrea Locatelli: P8 - 1'34.966
“It was difficult, especially in FP2 today – but the feeling with the bike immediately this morning was good, we just need to find something a bit more tomorrow during FP3 to be fully ready for the race. We need to focus around a bit more rear grip but around the rest of the track the feeling was good. It was not super impressive on the overall times today, the conditions were not easy – we will see what happens tomorrow, I think we can improve a lot and do something in the race!”
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P10 - 1'35.103
“We start again after the long break, but today I am not happy because we have not yet found a good setup for the race. But, we keep working and I hope we can find a good setup – it is important, we are not looking for just one fast lap. The weather looks ok for tomorrow, we will see what we can do. My team is working hard always, I hope we can find a good setting to fight for the win.”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK:
“Whilst cold, the traditional end of April weather lottery in Assen was a little bit kinder to us today than it was yesterday and we were able to complete both Free Practice sessions in dry – albeit windy – conditions. It has been an encouraging but also challenging day on both sides of the garage, with both riders needing further adjustments to make themselves feel fully comfortable on this fast and flowing circuit. We’re not far away and the rhythm on used tyres is quite positive so our potential is certainly much better than the final positions on the timesheets. The Yamaha R1 WorldSBK has always worked quite well at this circuit, we just need to find solutions to allow both Toprak and Loka to ride with more flow and confidence – and I am sure we can achieve that overnight and in FP3 tomorrow.”