Dosoli Debrief: Historic Weekend for Yamaha in Indonesia
Round 2 of the 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship proved to be one to remember for Yamaha, with the Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK Official Team securing their first-ever 1-2 in the Superpole Race on Sunday and the first lockout of the front two positions in qualifying for the manufacturer since 2010.
The Motul Indonesian Round at the 4.3km Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit, with its layout, spectacular island backdrop and passionate fans, has traditionally been a good track for Yamaha. Despite some challenging weather conditions, numerous red flags, and a surface that changed as the weekend progressed as more rubber was laid down, it proved a successful hunting ground for the manufacturer again in 2023.
In WorldSBK, Yamaha secured their first victory of the season and a further four podiums, plus their first qualifying 1-2 since Kyalami in 2010, while the manufacturer recorded another podium in WorldSSP Race 2.
Andrea Dosoli, Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Manager, gives his thoughts on the weekend’s action: “It was great to be back in Indonesia in front of 59,000 fans, a 15% increase on 2022, which shows the level of passion for motorcycle racing they have in the region. Before the track action got underway, we unveiled a special livery on the Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK R1s featuring the colours of the Indonesian flag and the words “Terima kasih Indonesia” (“Thank you Indonesia”) on the belly pan to thank the fans and to celebrate our long-time relationship with Yamaha Indonesia Motor Manufacturing.
“The unpredictable weather and changing track conditions as the weekend went on meant that tyre choice was crucial in both classes. After a tricky Friday spent mostly cleaning the track and laying down rubber, Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Andrea Locatelli secured the first 1-2 in WorldSBK qualifying for Yamaha in almost 13 years on Saturday. Then they created history by finishing first and second during Sunday’s Superpole Race, the first time the team has achieved this. It was also Toprak’s first victory of the season, while Andrea’s second place was his best result so far in 2023, matching his career-best WorldSBK finish.”
“We leave Mandalika feeling positive, with our riders second and third in the WorldSBK Championship standings and second overall in the Manufacturers standings. Thank you to all the teams and riders, as it has been a long trip, with the test and two back-to-back race weekends, but everyone was perfectly prepared and committed, allowing us to enjoy a strong start to the season.”
Razgatlıoğlu Second in Championship Standings After Sensational Weekend
Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK’s Razgatlıoğlu bounced back from a challenging opening round in Australia by storming to his second consecutive pole position on Saturday morning. The Turkish rider followed this up with a superb ride to second in Race 1 before tasting victory for the first time in 2023 in the Superpole Race. Race 2 saw him produce another strong performance to secure second, meaning the 26-year-old has only missed out on a podium spot once this season, after being taken out by another rider in Race 2 at Phillip Island.
“Toprak can be very happy with his performance over the entire weekend. He rode superbly and has made a positive step compared to the difficulties he faced in Australia. He and his team worked tirelessly in between races and over the weekend, and you can see that reflected in his results, with a victory and two second-place finishes to his name. He is now second in the championship and managed to close the gap to the leader heading to Assen in a month, a track he loves.”
Locatelli backed up his strong performance at the opening round, qualifying just 0.069s behind his teammate in second, before producing an excellent ride to third in Race 1. He backed this up by equalling his best WorldSBK result after finishing second in the Superpole Race to give the team a historic 1-2, and then pulled off another solid ride during the shortened and re-started Race 2 to cross the line in fifth. The 26-year-old leaves Mandalika third in the championship standings, just five points behind his teammate, showcasing the competitiveness of the Yamaha R1.
“Andrea confirmed the progress we have seen in him as a rider from the end of last season. He showed great maturity with his results over the weekend, and I have also been impressed by his preparation. His podium in Race 1, followed up by his ride to second to secure the historic 1-2 for the team in the Superpole Race, shows just how much effort he has put in. A difficult start in the shortened Race 2 made it hard for him to secure another podium due to the narrow lines at Mandalika that make overtaking extremely difficult. Still, he battled all the way to the line to secure fifth and continue his run of 12 top-five finishes in a row.”
Indonesia proved to be a bit trickier for the GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team rookies following a positive opening round. After finishing Friday’s practice in a promising sixth overall, Remy Gardner was forced to withdraw from the action on Saturday due to gastroenteritis but produced a stunning fightback on Sunday. Battling his way from last on the grid to cross the line 14th in the Superpole Race, the Australian, despite not being anywhere near 100%, summoned up all of his courage and determination to claim a brilliant seventh in Race 2.
His teammate Dominique Aegerter enjoyed another good weekend, qualifying in 12th and recovering from an issue at the start to finish eighth in Race 1. The Swiss rider secured another top-ten finish in the Superpole Race before a penalty for aggressive riding demoted him to 11th. Then in the restarted Race 2, he crossed the line in 12th to record his fifth points-scoring finish of the season.
“It was a more challenging weekend for the GYTR GRT Yamaha riders, starting with the enforced withdrawal of Remy from Saturday’s action due to acute gastroenteritis. In Race 1, Dominique had a minor issue at the start. But showed all of his talent, commitment, and racing spirit to recover from 15th to eighth, with an incredible double-overtake on the last lap. Unfortunately, a slight technical issue meant he could not find his usual pace and rhythm during Race 2, but he still managed to finish in a respectable 12th.
“After a strong start on Friday, Remy was forced to spend half of Saturday in the Medical Centre, missing all track activities. For most riders, that would be it for the weekend, but Remy showed just how strong and motivated he is. His performance in both parts of Race 2, before and after the red flag, was incredible when you consider his condition as he came through the field to cross the line in seventh. Both riders can now head home confident they will have the pace to fight with the more experienced WorldSBK riders during the next rounds in Europe.”
GMT94 Yamaha WorldSBK Team’s Lorenzo Baldassari continued his adaptation to the class in his rookie year with another solid round, improving in every session. The Italian qualified in 18th and scored points in all three races, recording his best WorldSBK result so far after crossing the line in 14th in Race 2.
“Lorenzo has shown promising progress in Indonesia and got faster in every session. In Race 2, he was lapping almost a second quicker than his qualifying time, which showcases how quickly he is adapting. It is a steep learning curve when you make the step up to WorldSBK, but he has shown that he is making the most of every moment, and his progress is very encouraging.”
Manzi Back on the Podium in WorldSSP
The second round of the FIM Supersport World Championship proved challenging for the R6 riders, although Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Stefano Manzi secured his second podium of the season in Race 2 after crossing the line in second. The Italian also claimed a seventh-place finish in Race 1, meaning he heads into Round 3 of the championship second in the overall standings.
His teammate Jorge Navarro continued his encouraging adaptation to the class with 12th in Race 1 and eighth in Race 2, while GMT94 Yamaha WorldSSP Supported Team’s Valentin Debise recorded his best finish of the season after finishing sixth in Race 1. Team Yamaha Thailand, making their full-time WorldSSP debut this season, scored points in both races, while Italian youngster Nicholas Spinelli (VFT Racing Yamaha) impressed again with another strong weekend, rounded out with a ninth in Race 2.
“It has been a more demanding weekend for our riders in WorldSSP in Indonesia, especially in Race 1. The Ten Kate Team responded superbly in race 2, with Manzi battling for victory the entire race and only missing out on the win due to his lack of acceleration out of the corners compared to some of our rivals. Despite not being the perfect weekend, Stefano leaves Indonesia second in the championship, and his team can be very proud of their efforts. On the other side of the garage, his teammate Jorge continued his encouraging start to his rookie season and is starting to dial in the correct settings with his R6 to give him the feeling he needs to fight for the podium.
“Debise showed his pace in Race 1, and Spinelli continues to impress in his rookie year, while credit is due to Team Yamaha Thailand for their points-scoring efforts in both races. It is their first year in the class, yet they have shown how professional and organised they are and how they deserve to be competing at this level.
“Mandalika was a showcase for the WorldSSP class in terms of rider development and providing good, entertaining races. However, it has also highlighted the need to rebalance the performance limitations for the different manufacturers to maintain the spirit and credibility of the championship.”