Locatelli after strong start to 2023: "I could never have imagined starting like this!"

Tuesday, 7 March 2023 08:31 GMT

The Italian is the only rider to have scored six top-five finishes in the six races held in 2023 while he has already passed his podium tally from last year

After two incredible rounds of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship have been completed following on from the Motul Indonesian Round at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit, only one rider has taken six top-five finishes out of six races so far in 2023. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) has three podiums and six top-five finishes to his name so far this season after a strong start to his 2023 campaign.

Locatelli ended the 2022 campaign on the front foot after some disappointing results over the middle part of the season, taking a podium at Mandalika last year and three top-five finishes at Phillip Island. He started 2023 in the same way in Australia as he took fourth in Race 1, fifth in the Tissot Superpole Race and his first podium of the season, with third, in Race 2. His results in Australia moved him into second in the Championship standings, the first time he had been in that position.

As WorldSBK headed to Mandalika for round two of 2023, Locatelli continued his fine form with third in Race 1 and second in the Tissot Superpole Race as he finished behind teammate Toprak Razgatlioglu. It marked the first time the pair had finished 1-2 for Pata Yamaha as they head into their third season together as teammates. Fifth in Race 2 meant he was unable to make it four podiums on the bounce but Locatelli’s three podiums in six races means he’s already surpassed his total from last season, while it is also the first time he has recorded three consecutive podium finishes in WorldSBK having finished on the podium from Australia Race 2 to the Superpole Race at Mandalika.

Reacting to his weekend, Locatelli said: “It was another great weekend and a really positive weekend because we got two podiums. Unfortunately, in Race 2, we lost this opportunity because I started further back after the red flag. In general, I’m really happy because we were fast. We showed our speed and we got a lot of good results. I think we need to be proud of myself and also for the team, because we worked really well during the weekend. The team gave me a really good bike to push with and stay at the front. Basically, we need to be happy because we worked really well and didn’t make a mistake. We need to look forward and try for a little bit more, and I need to learn things from this weekend and Phillip Island. It’s just the second round but we started in a really good way. We will see what happens during the season, but we are ready to fight.”

The Italian also looked back on his season as a whole after his strong start to the campaign, with Locatelli third in the standings and only five points behind teammate Razgatlioglu after two rounds. He said: “It was important. After the winter tests, we knew that we needed to try and start in a good way. I could never have imagined starting like this! When we saw that the opportunity was there to try and stay at the front every race, we tried to do this. We are really happy because we’re working really well. We were fast from Phillip Island and this is a great way to start the season. We need to learn something from Race 2. I went wide at Turn 12, so I lost a lot of positions and it put us further back. I think, in the end, it was a positive weekend.”

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