Locatelli P2 in Impressive Phillip Island Test with Razgatlıoğlu Fourth
Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK’s Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Andrea Locatelli took to the spectacular coastal Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for two days of official 2023 FIM Superbike World Championship testing, which finished today ahead of the season opener at the same venue later this week from 24-26 February.
Both riders completed a full test programme working to fine-tune the base set-up of their Yamaha R1 WorldSBK machines as well as test development parts to assist Yamaha’s engineers in future direction for this year and beyond.
Locatelli was particularly impressive – not only by completing 75 laps on Monday and a further 113 laps today including two long-run race simulations, but also in setting the second-fastest lap time overall with a 1’30.344 less than one-tenth from the top spot. The Italian has continued to reinforce the step in performance he has taken since the latter part of the 2022 season and all through winter testing.
Turkish star Razgatlıoğlu’s test programme almost mirrored his teammate, with a total of 165 laps across two days on the island and a fastest lap time of 1’30.674 banked yesterday afternoon – along with extensive data and feedback for the Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK team to analyse ahead of the first round of the season.
Phillip Island’s 4.445km circuit layout is notoriously fast and features a particularly abrasive surface, calling into play tyre conservation strategies and an adapted set-up to conserve rear grip for the closing stages of each race. The next opportunity to see who has done their homework will come on Friday morning with the first Free Practice of 2023 at 11:30 local time (UTC+11).
Andrea Locatelli – P2, 1’30.344
“The feeling from yesterday was really good and I enjoyed this test! I enjoy riding on this track, it’s a bit special for me! When we finish the day, we go in the house and it is feeling like home, but also Phillip Island is just a really nice track – when you are riding you see the ocean and it’s something different. I’m really happy about these two days because we were really fast from the first day, and I think we were fast in every session – so this is a good point. The feeling with the bike was amazing in all the sessions. Now we need to look forward for the race weekend. To be honest, I think we are close to being ready and we have a really good package, so we need to trust and to believe! In general, I have more confidence with the bike, we work very well during the winter tests and also here in Phillip Island, so I think we are ready to fight.”
Toprak Razgatlıoğlu – P4, 1’30.674
“We tried many parts and different set-up on the two days, looking for best rear grip and race set up. In the end I am not so happy today, we did not find the best solution, so maybe we go back to yesterday setting – you know, my best lap time. Now my team are working for the weekend. I am just focused on set-up, not fast lap, I just focus this and trying the new parts – not push a lot. It can be easy to try too many parts or set-up and be lost, but now we are coming back again and it’s time to race. On Friday, everybody start pushing for the new season – always we try best position, maybe in the race we are big fighting again but we will see – I will try my best!”