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WorldSBK Indonesia: Locatelli wants more, 'we can improve a lot'

Andrea Locatelli left Mandalika third in the WorldSBK Championship standings after two podium celebrations on the Pata Yamaha in round two.

The question many people had in their minds at the start of a talent-packed 2023 season was which of the riders behind the headline-grabbing big three would step-up to challenge hardest this year. The obvious answer to this so far comes in the slender shape of factory Yamaha rider, Locatelli. And he does not even have the power to hand that the next nearest candidate for top three top baiter, Michael Ruben Rinaldi has.

He only lost second place in the championship fight to his teammate Toprak Razgatlioglu because of a fifth place in Race Two at Mandalika, but so far it has been three podiums from six starts.


“I prefer when we get the podium, but not so easy to put results in the Race Two,” Locatelli explained from Lombok. “It’s difficult to recover from the back. I lose especially on the first part of the second start. But basically a good weekend. No mistakes. Some riders do some mistakes, but this is normal.”

There were, in fairness to even an analytical rider like Locatelli, many things to take into consideration on a Sunday with two red flags, four starts, and crashes and injuries all around. And like many other, he had used up all his available tyres, and had to start racing with part worn Pirelli rubber.

“It’s not easy,” he agreed. “For sure with the tyre it was not easy also to take some choice sometimes, and also we don’t have a lot of tyres, so sometimes we need to restart with the old tyre. But we were in a good base setup. We were with a good choice of the tyre.

“In the end, in the second restart, we start from P7 and it was not easy to overtake the other riders in front because more or less the pace was really fast for all the riders. The problem was just in the first race, on the first part of the race the first time when we start. I overtook Toprak and then [Axel] Bassani brought me out in corner 12. I lost a lot of positions so this was a bit wrong to be maybe in front also on the next race, on the next start of the race. But we need to forget this part.

“In the end we were fast all the weekend. We got a lot of points. We got two podiums. So, we need to be proud about this, for sure.”

With now six weeks or so to wait to go for podiums again, at an Assen circuit he really likes, he could maybe be doing with continuing his early season podium momentum. Is the wait a bit of a pain for him, personally?

“To be honest, a little bit yes, because I like to stay on the bike and working and enjoying the bike,” Locatelli agreed. “For sure, we need to be waiting a month and two weeks probably. For sure we have some days of testing, but we need to waiting Assen to be on the race again. But we need to work. We need to try to find maybe something more and when we arrive in Assen, we will see what happens. But we start in a good way, so this is for me one of the best moments. We are third in the championship, so I think we need to be happy.”

Assen was the venue for his first podiums in WorldSBK in his debut season. “For sure, Assen was good memories,” the 26-year-old reflected. “It was my first podium on the Superbike. Also is a good track. So, we try. We try always. We try because I think we have a good package. I have a good feeling. I have good grip. I have everything in the group that is working well, so basically we need to be fast also in Assen. I think we need to be faster in all the season, because we start in a good way so I think we can improve a lot. We can continue to take the confidence with the bike and we try to fight always for the podium or for the top five, because in the end also the top five is a good result. It is important for the season so, we will see. Unfortunately, we need to wait a little bit!”

The inconsistencies of penalties for some riders, or no penalties for other riders, was also a subject Locatelli was asked about, especially in relation to Axel Bassani, who got a penalty for what just looked like a hard racing pass on Locatelli.

“To be honest, it’s not penalty, but I think just we need to try to be a little bit more calm because was just the second lap. I was fast,” said Locatelli. “I have a good pace, so basically I think he can try to stay in behind of me and then we have 21 laps. So for sure it’s important to start well, but I was in the first position and he was in second. So I think we don’t do nothing crazy, but he tried and especially destroyed a little bit my race too. Anyway, this is what we can take. We need to learn something also today for the future, for sure.”

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