Jonathan Rea and Andrea Locatelli discuss Dutch Round of 2024 WorldSBK

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Pata Prometeon Yamaha Hoping for A+ Set-Ups in Assen
Jonathan Rea and Andrea Locatelli discuss their ambitions for the Dutch Round of the 2024 FIM Superbike World Championship, taking place this weekend from 19-21 April at the TT Circuit Assen in the Netherlands.
Putting a challenging start to the season behind him, Rea is ready to return to one of the venues he enjoys the most. While it is another new circuit for his partnership with the Yamaha R1 WorldSBK, history is certainly in Rea’s favour as he has the record of the most WorldSBK race wins at any given track – with an incredible 17 victories at Assen.
Locatelli hopes positive momentum from his podiums in Australia, a strong performance on balance in Barcelona and studious preparation will help deliver the opportunity to fight for the podium once again. His first WorldSBK podium in 2021 is bolstered with top five results in every single Dutch race he has run to date, as well as two further podiums in 2022 and 2023.
Knowledge of how to be fast plays a part, and for Locatelli’s Crew Chief Tom O’Kane, more than three decades of engineering experience in the top echelons of motorcycle racing means a visit to the classic “TT” has been a regular annual feature.
“The weather and track temperature in Assen can vary greatly and, of course, these are major factors in tyre choice and bike set-up,” O’Kane explains. “The track itself has a couple of different characteristics: the first sector is tight and it’s very important for the rider to make a good exit onto the back straight from the very slow Turn 5. However, the rest of the track is mostly very fast corners connected by high speed direction changes. The bike must be stable in the fast corners but agile enough for the direction changes. Loka has always been fast in Assen in WorldSBK and we’ll be working hard to give him the best R1 possible.”
Cool spring temperatures and potential rain is forecast during the race weekend, meaning teams will need to be at the top of their game to adapt for changing conditions and set up their riders to duel in one of Assen’s famous last lap clashes. But first, Free Practice 1 begins on Friday morning in the regular European schedule at 10:20 CEST (BST+1) followed by a second 45-minute session at 15:00.
Andrea Locatelli:
“I’m really happy to be back on track this week in Assen. Thinking about the first two rounds, we were able to be in the front group always to show our potential – in Phillip Island, especially. Barcelona was a bit of a tricky track for us, but in Race 1 we finished not so far from the front with P5. Race 2 was a bit unlucky, but I think overall, we have started the season in a good way. It has been a good start with some new guys on the team and with my Crew Chief, Tom. We have taken a step and improved a lot, and also with my confidence on the bike – these are important things. Assen is a really nice circuit, fast and flowing, and I love to ride it! Every year we have achieved a podium there, so it would be nice to continue the tradition and have the opportunity to get another one! In the past few weeks, I have been working on some final recovery on my knee but it is close to 100% and the feeling is good. I also met with Tom to organise our plan for the weekend and I think we have all the key things to be fast there, so let’s see. We want to be positive and I believe we can fight to be back on the podium.”
Jonathan Rea:
“I’m really excited to go to Assen because it’s a track I really enjoy, I’ve had a lot of success there in the past and I feel it’s going to be a really strong circuit for the Yamaha R1 WorldSBK as well. As always with Assen in April, we need to pay attention to the weather. It will be the first time this season that we will experience really cool conditions, so hopefully on Friday we can get a good feeling with my bike, my crew and step by step work to have a good race package that we can fight for a good result with on Saturday and Sunday. It’s always a really nice event in the Netherlands, lots of fans and lots of travelling support for me coming from the UK as well. I have high expectations for the weekend and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in.”
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