First look at WorldSBK Phillip island on the “big bike”

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Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK Top Five in Tricky Phillip Island Friday

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Andrea Locatelli ended Free Practice fourth and fifth-place respectively in the combined time sheets at the final round of the 2022 FIM Superbike World Championship at Phillip Island today.

After more than two and a half years away from the classic Aussie venue, the WorldSBK class had plenty of work to do to get back up to speed on the fastest circuit of the calendar. For 26-year-old Italian rider Locatelli, it was a positive day for his first look at the island on the “big bike” with excellent one-lap speed and a productive long-run in this afternoon’s Free Practice 2 session.

There was more work to do on Razgatlıoğlu’s side of the pit box to find a comfortable – and crucially, fast – set-up on his Yamaha R1 WorldSBK. His fourth-fastest lap time came behind a strong trio of Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea, Alex Lowes and Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista.

With an abrasive surface, lower track temperatures and two different construction Pirelli rear tyre options to test, the challenges facing the Turkish ace are very different compared to his hat-trick weekend in Mandalika just five days ago.

The Australian Round features another special condensed race schedule, with later session times each day: Free Practice 3 starts from 10:50 (UTC+11), Superpole qualifying at 13:10 and lights out for Race 1 at 16:00 tomorrow.

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu: P4 – 1’31.604
“After Mandalika, not a perfect day for me – we are not strong starting but anyway, after two years we are coming back here again at Phillip Island and now we are trying to find a good set-up for my bike. I hope tomorrow we find a good set-up and start to come back again strong, but we will see! I am not really strong in the wet conditions, but maybe it can help for me – I don’t know – because maybe tomorrow in wet conditions I can ride more fast! No problem, because last weekend for the season and I will try my best. Both Kawasaki riders are very strong on this track, I remember from 2020 and also Alvaro is very strong. Maybe we are fighting with them again tomorrow, I will try.”

Andrea Locatelli: P5 – 1’31.721
“It’s like a dream to be back in Australia, because I have been waiting a lot of time to ride the R1 WorldSBK here and today, it was really amazing. I’m really happy because it’s the first day and we’re already fast and I have a good feeling on the bike. It’s only the first day – it will not be easy tomorrow, but it’s the last weekend and we have three races, so we will try to enjoy and we will try for the maximum result we can get. The big step was in FP2, because I have never ridden this bike here and I also did the long run to understand the feeling and reference on this track with this bike. The average speed is really high, so I need to understand the good points and what I can manage on the bike. The rear is not easy to control because we have a lot of spin, but we are working very well today and we have good data to prepare the bike for tomorrow as well as confidence from Mandalika, so I want to push and try to get another podium if it’s possible.”

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