Portimão Concludes Winter Test Programme for Pata Prometeon Yamaha
Pata Prometeon Yamaha riders Andrea Locatelli and Jonathan Rea clocked up another productive two days of testing, this time at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve – Portimão, as Round 1 of the FIM Superbike World Championship in Australia draws closer.
There was plenty of action on track – with riders from WorldSBK and MotoGP in the mix – but Yamaha’s official riders remained focused to complete their intensive test programmes in preparation for the 2024 season.
Locatelli led the team’s efforts in terms of overall mileage with 159 laps across the two days, 80 on Day 1 and 79 on Day 2, while for “JR” 65 was the number on both days – for a total of 130 laps.
Focusing on long run pace, Locatelli was able to complete two full race simulations and on Day 2 alone recorded a very impressive 34 laps in the 1’39 and 1’40s.
A technical problem today meant an enforced change of plan for Rea, but the new Yamaha recruit was able to find positives in excellent used-tyre pace as he and his crew continue to work on finding the best JR-R1 WorldSBK set-up possible.
Now begins the long journey for freight, crew and riders “Down Under” to Phillip Island, ahead of the WorldSBK Official Test on 19-20 February and opening round of the season from 23-25 February.
Andrea Locatelli – 1:39.658
“It was an interesting test, especially today because I think we made a big improvement particularly in the long run – we did a really good job. I always had a really good feeling on my R1 in all the days, so this is the main point – and at the same time, we have been working well to be ready for Phillip Island. Let’s see what can happen there, it’s always a bit of a strange track, but to do a good job here in Portimão and Jerez was really important. It was the first time working with Tom and we are working very well together in these days, everything looks positive – we changed some things in the way of working, for him it was the first tests with me and with this bike but I already know it very well! We have a lot of data and completed very good long runs, with fast lap times every lap – so we can be happy with our work and now I am looking forward to the first round of the Championship.”
Jonathan Rea – 1:39.685
“We lost a little bit of time today, but we just focused on what we could with our workload. I was not completely satisfied with the feeling out there, but I did a longer run to understand the tyre drop here and I got faster and faster during that – so there are some positives. I think we need to improve our “out and out” pace a bit, but I wasn’t completely comfortable as we are still looking to find that optimum set-up for my style. First time here at Portimão on my R1 threw a few curveballs from what I’m used to, so a little bit of work to do – but still happy, confident and relieved now that testing is finished and we can move on to focusing on Phillip Island. We still managed a lot of laps so I have to thank everyone on the team, from AP and my electronics engineer Davide to all the mechanics – they worked tirelessly all day to get through all the items! It has been super cool to be in full 2024 colours, kudos to Yamaha and Paul for getting the bike looking so nice – it feels real now riding on track that I have joined Yamaha and I’m enjoying it!”
Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Prometeon Yamaha:
“All of the riders and teams have done a lot of mileage in four days across Jerez and Portimão – we’ve been really lucky with the weather and the conditions in general. The first “thanks” has to be to our Pata Prometeon Yamaha crew – tests are the hardest days for a race mechanic and these have been no different: lots of changes and some challenges, but the guys always give 100% and overall, we can be quite happy with the work completed. Loka’s test was smoother than Jonathan’s and this allowed him to complete two race distance simulations and a slightly wider test programme. He is riding really well, was very consistent and is looking to start the season strongly in Phillip Island. For JR, there were a few challenges to overcome for the first time at a different track with the R1 – and even if the ultimate lap time was disappointing by his extremely high standards – his consistency and ability to grind out very good lap times on old tyres is a positive sign not only for the demands of Phillip Island but the season as a whole. Now, there is a lot of work for the crew chiefs, electronics engineers and for Yamaha’s guys to ensure we go to Australia with the best start point possible. Testing is done, let’s go racing!”