Ever-passionate Dutch fans cheer WorldSBK Assen famous fast speeds

2023 GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

Dosoli Debrief: Plenty of Podiums in Assen, But Work Still to be Done

The third round of the FIM Superbike World Championship was a successful one for Yamaha across the board as podiums were sealed in all classes at the classic TT Circuit Assen, including a fantastic four Yamahas in the Top 6 places on Sunday in WorldSBK. However, the squad are still on the hunt for improvements to reach the top step of the podium in the premier category.

After a five-week break in the championship, The Netherlands brought its ever-passionate Dutch fans, and the famous fast and flowing track added an extra air of excitement for the four categories that Yamaha competes in. There was also a share of unpredictable weather conditions added into the mix for the race weekend from April 21st – 23rd, although the vast majority of track action was held in the dry.

Andrea Dosoli, Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Manager, commented:
“It was fantastic to get back to racing after such a long break, and great to see the grandstands at Assen packed with so many more passionate fans than last year. It is also the home race for Yamaha Motor Europe, which is based in The Netherlands, so we were able to welcome a lot of our colleagues to the event and give them a bit of an insight into what we do. Assen was also the first race of the season where we’ve brought the complete WorldSBK Paddock together once again, with both our WorldSSP300 and R3 bLU cRU European Championship riders getting their seasons underway. I would like to take this opportunity to wish a speedy recovery to Michael van der Mark after his awful crash on Sunday, he is a much-loved former Yamaha rider and we all wish him the best.”

Triple Podium for Toprak
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu put together a consistent race weekend which allowed him to take three podiums – two third place finishes in Race 1 and the SuperPole race, and a second place finish in Race 2. He began his weekend by qualifying third on the grid, and he showed solid race pace despite struggling to get to grips with his R1 around the Dutch circuit which he is yet to win at.

A.D.: “Toprak took a little while to adapt back to his R1 following the MotoGP test, but he had his usual determined spirit and managed, along with his engineers, to improve the performance step by step. On Sunday we saw him in ‘fight mode’ and these three consistent finishes were really encouraging and helpful for the championship standings.”

Loka Returns to the Podium
Andrea Locatelli secured his fourth podium of the season in Race 2 at Assen. The Italian has always enjoyed the feel of the circuit, and this was evident in his ever-improved performance throughout the weekend. After qualifying 6th on the grid, “Loka” fought his way up to great 4th place in Race 1. In the SuperPole race he finished a solid 5th, and in the final fight of the weekend he gained an excellent podium with 3rd.

A.D.: “Loka has once again proved his speed and consistency, and last weekend’s results have also boosted his position in the championship, where he is currently in third place. He is ambitious and aiming to get closer to his team-mate in the coming races and we will, of course, help him with this. Both Pata Yamaha Prometeon riders enjoyed a positive weekend, albeit one that was made a little frustrating by the fact that, while we’ve certainly made inroads into his advantage, we had no answer for Alvaro Bautista in Assen. He rode a fault free weekend, and we can only congratulate him on the clean sweep of victories, while continuing to work on closing the gap.”

 

Aegerter & Gardner Show Their Colours
It was an impressive weekend from the GRT GYTR Yamaha WSBK Team too, with Dominique Aegerter and Remy Gardner showing great pace throughout the event on a track they both know well. Remy achieved 8th, 12th, and 6th in the three races, while “Domi” managed 6th, 7th, and 4th. The 4th place in Race 2 also awarded him ‘Top Independent Rider’ status.

A.D.: “Domi and Remy were obviously feeling very comfortable around Assen, and it was great to see them building their confidence over the course of the event. They are rookies but they showed how quickly they’re already adapting to their R1 bikes, with Domi achieving his best finish so far with 4th. Remy lost out a bit on the starts, but he is otherwise showing great progression. We saw improving performances from all our WorldSBK riders during the weekend, and this was confirmed with the great result in Race 2 where we had 4 riders in the Top 6 – all within 12 seconds from the winner. Congratulations to both teams, riders and the Yamaha engineers.”

 

Ray Makes His Debut, Baldassarri Continues Learning Curve
Yamaha Moto X Racing rider Bradley Ray finally made his debut in Assen. The Brit will be competing in all European rounds of the WorldSBK championship this season. In the shortened Superpole Race, Ray came extremely close to a points scoring position (just two tenths of a second off) but a crash in Race 2 meant he was unable to build on this result. GMT 94’s Lorenzo Baldassarri continued to build and learn as he participates in his first season in WorldSBK, managing a promising 13th place in Race 2.

A.D.: “Bradley has already shown a lot of promising potential, and he has a great work ethic. He was a little unlucky with the crash in the second race, but in the tricky Superpole Race he was able to fight with more experienced competitors and to contain his gap from the winner in 12 seconds. Lorenzo is also improving session by session and gaining a lot of data to help him to progress further.”

WorldSSP600 – Manzi Fights Hard
Ten Kate Yamaha’s Stefano Manzi achieved another podium in the WorldSSP 600 class on Sunday in Assen, after taking 5th on Saturday. The Italian showed his tenacious side to battle it out into second place in Race 2. He now sits 37 points from the championship lead. Meanwhile, his team-mate Jorge Navarro bagged two Top 10 finishes over the weekend despite still recovering from injury. Home rider, Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) took his R6 to 3rd place on Saturday. GMT94 Yamaha’s Valentin Debise also had a solid weekend with 4th place in Race 1, and 6th in Race 2.

A.D.: “Manzi continued his charge in WorldSSP and came away from Assen with a 5th and a 2nd. Navarro also showed that he is recovering from his injuries and regaining pace. Debise had a consistent weekend with two finishes in the top six, and it was also good to see van Straalen on the podium. Some of our other Yamaha supported riders such as Andrea Mantovani, Nicolas Spinelli and Apiwath Wongthananon all scored points too.”

 

WorldSSP 300 – Two More Yamaha Podiums
Former R3 bLU cRU rider, Humberto Maier scored an excellent 2nd place in Race 2 at the Dutch circuit. The Brazilian did battle with fellow Yamaha rider and CIV graduate Matteo Vannucci for a thrilling photo finish, demoting the determined Italian to third. Another R3 bLU cRU rider, Enzo Valentim, impressed on his debut achieving 12th in Race 1 and climbing to 8th in Race 2. And Mirko Gennai also looked very comfortable on his first outing of the season, fighting with the lead group.

A.D.: “We had two extremely close races with big lead groups and just fractions of seconds separating the podium positions, as is often the case in this class. It’s great to see that some of our young stars are already achieving podiums in only their first race of the season. It proves, even at this early stage, how valuable our R3 championship is in nurturing talent and supporting them to the next stage. I’m sure we’ll see them on the podium again soon, as their pace and race craft were excellent.”

R3 bLU cRU Championship – Thrilling Season Opener
The youngest riders on the Superbike grid got their season off to an intense and mesmerising start as the closely matched riders swopped positions until the final flag in both races. Race 1 saw Italy’s Emiliano Ercolani come out on top by just 0.039 seconds, followed by Spain’s Marc Vich, and Brazil’s Kevin Fontainha. While Race 2 was an all-Brazilian affair with Gustavo Manso leading home Eduardo Burr and Fontainha.

A.D.: “The young stars riding in the R3 bLU cRU European Championship really showed what they’re made of in this first round of the year – we saw some very impressive riding skills and some intense but clean battles. We’re proud of how they have started this season. This series is vitally important for developing our next generation of riders, and we’re thrilled to see it becoming more global with half the grid coming from outside of Europe this year.”

 

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