There was no stopping Andrea Locatelli at the MotorLand Aragón circuit this weekend, as the Evan Bros Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team rider took his winning count to seven with another double victory in the FIM Supersport World Championship.
After a dominant Friday, Locatelli could only manage third in Saturday morning’s FP3 but the Italian was back to his best in qualifying, as he soared to his fourth straight pole position. In Race 1, the Italian dropped in behind GMT94 Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Jules Cluzel at the start, but within the next four laps the rookie sensation was back to the front and pulled clear to take his sixth victory of the season.
In Race 2, and with track conditions similar to Saturday’s opener, Locatelli was again second through Turn 1, but this time the championship leader quickly retook the position within the next few corners. The Moto2 convert held a narrow advantage until lap five, when he bested his fastest lap from Race 1 and began to streak clear. With a comfortable gap to second, Locatelli slowed his pace in the final stages and cruised to another sensational victory.
GMT94 Yamaha’s Cluzel qualified on the second row in fourth, but made a lightning getaway in Race 1 to lead the field away out of Turn 1. The Frenchman held on for a few laps, but eventually conceded the position and settled into second. The current championship runner-up maintained the gap behind to take his 50th WorldSSP podium in second.
On Sunday, Cluzel held station in fourth through the first lap, but by lap seven had managed to pick off the two Kawasaki riders of Lucas Mahias and Philipp Ottl to take second-place. He defended well over the second half of the race and held on for his sixth podium of the season.
After a sublime recovery ride from 12th to seventh in Race 1, Kallio Racing Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Isaac Vinales put in another strong performance on Sunday. The Spaniard started from seventh on the grid and moved up to sixth early on, which he remained until the chequered flag.
Corentin Perolari collected more important points on the GMT94 Yamaha R6, starting with a 10th place finish in Race 1. The French rider was locked in a hotly contested battle for seventh on Sunday, just losing out by 0.010s at the finish to take eighth.
bLU cRU Yamaha WorldSSP Team’s Galang Hendra Pratama and Andy Verdoïa narrowly missed out on points at Aragón, but will look to use the experience to move forward when they return to the circuit next weekend.
Kallio Racing’s Hannes Soomer qualified an impressive fifth and was in the front fight in Race 1, before a fall saw him pull into the pits and into retirement. On Sunday, the Estonian fell on the opening lap to record another unfortunate DNF.
Andrea Locatelli: P1 & P1
Evan Bros Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team
“After winning yesterday, it was great to be back on the top step again today. We need to continue this momentum going into next weekend. Obviously, it’s been a great start to the season for us! The conditions this weekend weren’t too easy, but today I pushed in the beginning to break the gap behind so in the end I could be a little more conservative. We need to continue to work for the next one, as the other riders will try to close the gap. I’m not thinking about the championship yet, it’s a bit too early for that and a lot can change, so we will continue to take it race-by-race.”
Jules Cluzel: P2 & P2
GMT94 Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team
“It was probably one of the most difficult podiums of the year today. We were in a group of four riders fighting for the rostrum throughout the race. The rhythm was much higher than yesterday, but overall we improved again. We have two more races here next weekend and I hope that we will get a little bit closer to the leader. “