Site of Yamaha’s first victories since returning to WorldSBK in 2016

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Donington Park Homecoming for Pata Prometeon Yamaha
Pata Prometeon Yamaha and its riders Jonathan Rea and Andrea Locatelli “head home” for the UK Round of the 2024 FIM Superbike World Championship this weekend from 12-14 July.
The site of the team’s and Yamaha’s first victories since returning to WorldSBK in 2016 – a dominant double achieved in 2018 – Donington has been something of a happy hunting ground for Yamaha’s WorldSBK riders over the years, but both Locatelli and Rea are keeping their feet firmly on the ground and aiming to tackle the weekend step-by-step.
Locatelli has gone from strength-to-strength in 2024, two fourth-places and a fifth his best results at the ultra-competitive Misano circuit since joining the premier class in 2021. His consistency means he lies fifth in the championship standings, but his ultimate target is to win a race as soon as possible this season.
Teammate Rea has six wins under his belt at Donington Park, but it will be his first time at home on the Yamaha R1 WorldSBK. After picking up a wrist injury from a high-speed crash in Misano, the six-time World Champion is keeping his targets realistic, while hoping to enjoy the weekend in front of many British fans.
Crew Chief for the #65 rider, Andrew Pitt understands that the weather is always the first thing that can be unpredictable at Donington: “We’ve been there a lot of times before, with good results, and we have a pretty good base for the R1 WorldSBK in every condition possible,” Pitt explains.
“While it will be Jonathan’s first time at Donington with the Yamaha, he’s always been fast there and he’s adapting well when everything comes together – like during the Misano test and in Assen. The new asphalt surface threw some different tyre decisions into the mix last year. We had to use a harder compound and it will be the same this year, but the grip was good so it will just be a case of getting JR comfortable on the bike. Donington Park is one of those tracks where the rider can really make the difference. The Yamaha is quick here because it stops well, turns well, tyre wear is good and the straights are not too long. The first race this bike ever won was here in the UK, so there’s no reason we can’t have a strong weekend.”
The FIM World Women’s Circuit Racing Championship returns for Round 2, with Beatriz Neila and the Ampito / Pata Prometeon Yamaha R7. Neila missed the podium by the closest of margins in Race 2 in Misano and is eager to get on the rostrum for the first time in motorcycling’s brand-new World Championship series exclusively for women.
Potential light showers are forecast across the weekend, as WorldSBK Free Practice 1 starts on Friday morning at 10:20 BST followed by a second 45-minute session at 15:00 – while the WorldWCR schedule starts with Free Practice at 9:40 and Superpole qualifying at 14:10.
Jonathan Rea:
“I’m really looking forward to Donington, especially after Misano as I’ve had a few weeks to let my wrist injury heal and I hope to be back close to 100% fitness before the weekend! It’s a circuit I really enjoy, it’s both my team’s and my own home race so it will be great to have a lot of support there. I’m looking forward to trying to keep building our speed and our pace and work towards being more competitive. Like always in the UK, the weather can play a part – so I hope for everyone including the fans that we get to have a good, dry weekend! I’m pretty excited for this one, can’t wait to get started on Friday morning.”
Andrea Locatelli:
“I’m really excited to be back on track, especially in Donington because last year we had much better results there. We were fast, so I think we can be stronger also this year! The layout of the track is quite good for us – especially the first part of the lap, where the corners are quite fast. During the year we have improved the R1 a lot, so I think we can be competitive across the weekend. Let’s see what we can do now after four rounds, but more or less we know that we can be always fighting for the podium so this is a good point. I hope for good weather in the UK and then we will see! But we will enjoy the weekend back on track and racing strongly!”
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