This weekend we saw our first win of the year in World Supersport

2024 Yamaha YZF-R3

The second round of the FIM Superbike World Championship took place at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona last weekend and it was a dramatic event which saw ups and downs for Yamaha Racing across the classes.

The second round of the FIM Superbike World Championship took place at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona last weekend and it was a dramatic event which saw ups and downs for Yamaha Racing across the classes.

Stefano Manzi took his and Yamaha’s first victory of the season in the Supersport World Championship with a stunning win in race two, adding to his second place in the first race meaning he’s closed the gap significantly to the championship lead.

While riders in the WorldSBK class showed a lot of promise, Andrea Locatelli’s fifth place in the first race was the strongest of the weekend for Yamaha’s teams, but there were positive signs throughout.

The weekend also saw the first round of the 2024 FIM Yamaha R3 bLU cRU World Cup, with both races won by Spain’s Gonzales Sanchez while the return of the WorldSSP300 Championship saw Indonesian rider Aldi Satya Mahendra take his R3 to the podium en route to leaving Barcelona as championship leader.

Here’s the verdict from Yamaha Motor Europe’s Motorsport R&D and Road Racing Manager, Andrea Dosoli:

The first race in Europe is usually a race where you can better assess the performance of our teams, riders and technical packages on a track that is a challenge due to the high tyre wear, particularly the front in Superbike. It is a track where we have struggled in the past.

It was nice to see an improvement in spectators compared to 2023, even if the figure still isn’t high, it is important to see this improvement here in Spain.

“Important win for Manzi and Pata Yamaha Ten Kate” 

This weekend we saw our first win of the year in World Supersport, and not just a win but a double podium. Stefano Manzi took a fantastic win in race two, which is very important for him and his team after the second race disappointment in Phillip Island. It also helped us close the gap to the leader of the championship ahead of the team’s home round in Assen. Congratulations to Stefano and the Pata Yamaha Ten Kate team for their success.

It was also nice to see Lucas Mahias return to the podium with GMT94. He was on fire from free practice one, showing a lot of speed on this track and finishing third on Sunday was his reward for the hard work he and the team have put in during the winter.

Valentin Debise and the Evans Bros Racing team also enjoyed a strong weekend, Debise was always in the leading group throughout, showing the overall performance of the R6 on this track is good. There are some areas to improve, but we are happy that the R6 can still be competitive after many years!

Locatelli showed pace all weekend

Locatelli showed pace all weekend

“Challenging weekend in Superbike, but positives to be taken”  

In Superbike, this is a challenging track for us as the grip is very low and riders need to work hard to conserve the tyre. This means we cannot always maximise the strengths of our bike as the rider has to be more careful when they are using the side of the tyre – which is where the R1 is strong.

Considering this, Locatelli has been quick all weekend and had a strong first race and made a step compared to 2023 which is a good sign we have made the right steps with the development. For sure, it is not enough to fight for the podium but we knew this track would be challenging for us. Unfortunately in race two, he could not express his talent as he had to go straight on in lap one to avoid the bikes on the track after the Rinaldi/Bassani incident. But he put his head down and made up a lot of positions with a good pace considering the circumstances, to finish 13th when at the end of the first lap he was last with a ten second gap to the rider in front shows his commitment and motivation.

Keeping the focus on the official team, it has not been the start to the season any of us wanted for Jonathan. After the disappointment on the grid of race one and then difficulty backshifting in the Superpole Race, we saw a positive reaction for the second race which saw Jonathan take his first points of the season and collect some important data in the race so he could better understand the characteristics of the bike over a full distance race. I am sure in Assen the situation will be different and he will be back where he deserves to be and the team is working hard to make this happen.

I’ve seen some good work in the GYTR GRT Yamaha team this weekend. Dominique did not get a good start in both races, especially in race 2 got caught up in the opening laps, but he was able to recover and come through to a strong position. So the first few laps is definitely an area to improve, but his late race pace was very good.

Congratulations to Remy for a very hard fight in race two after a disappointing first race where maybe the tyre choice was not the correct one. On Sunday he showed his talent and it is a shame he had to drop a position after the chequered flag, because honestly, if he touched the green it was by just a few millimetres so he did not deserve this. It was nice to see his reaction two thirds in, when the tyre wear was down, he changed his riding style and gave everything to maintain a good pace and fight with Petrucci and it was very close in the end, so well done to him and his team.

FIM Yamaha bLU cRU World Cup & WorldSSP300 

This weekend also saw the first round of the 2024 FIM Yamaha R3 bLU cRU World Cup, which starts its new chapter as a World Cup this year. It’s a great programme for young riders and now, the programme is fully connected with South America and Asia – it is nice to see a lot of riders on the grid are from outside Europe showing it is a truly global series. The winner of both races this weekend, Gonzalo Sanchez, was also the winner of our R3 bLU cRU Super Finale last year, so congratulations to him.

To give credit to the bLU cRU programme, it was very positive to see Indonesian rider Aldi Satya Mahendra finish second on Saturday in his first full-time WorldSSP300 race and he missed the podium in race two because he was a bit too optimistic and took the lead too early, which as we know is not always the best strategic decision in this class! We can put this down to a lack of experience but it is clear his speed is there and even though he missed the podium in race two, he now leads the championship so this was a job well done! Congratulations also to Samuel di Sora, who also finished on the podium in race one.

Now we have some time before Round 3 of the championship at TT Circuit Assen, which will be the home race for Yamaha Motor Europe (based near Amsterdam) and of course the Pata Yamaha Ten Kate team. With three weeks before the race, this will be important time for us to analyse the data from the first two events and look to see if we can take further steps for the rest of the season.

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