Rookie no more: Locatelli is established at the front in WorldSBK as he took a second rostrum
After a maiden podium at Assen two weeks ago, the floodgates appeared to have opened for Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) as he took a second podium in as many races. The Italian rookie is in fine form of late in the 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship and during the Tissot Czech Round at the Autodrom Most, kept a cool head to finish a strong third.
Locatelli made a strong and safe start as he held his own in the battle for fourth, picking his way through and grabbing it from fellow countryman Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati). After that, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) made a rare error and crashed from third whilst in the battle for second with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK), promoting the #55 into third place, where he was able to isolate himself from the heated battle ahead and the chasing pack of Rinaldi, Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) and Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) behind.
Speaking after the race, Locatelli was elated: “It’s a massive podium, it is only Saturday, but we started very well this weekend, and these are really good results for us. For tomorrow, we will try to improve a little bit as it isn’t too easy to ride the bike. Also, the conditions are not easy, as it is very hot. We need a search for a little bit more grip on the rear and need a to close the gap to the front, because I want to try and stay with my teammate Toprak. In the end we did a good job, and I am sure that tomorrow we can do really well!”
Come the flag, he took third place, the 333rd podium placing for Yamaha riders – ironically the last time an Italian took back-to-back podiums at Yamaha was in 2019 with the #33 Marco Melandri, with two third-places at Jerez. Locatelli is now lying in ninth in the Championship standings with 100 points, and has come right into contention at Most, now just 24 behind Michael Ruben Rinaldi who occupies fifth.
Looking ahead tomorrow, Locatelli hailed Yamaha’s vast improvements and believes there’s still room for further gains: “For sure the bike works well, also with Toprak; it works so well in every race for me and him, and it is important to have a mate like him, so we can work well. At Yamaha we are working very well, and I think tomorrow we can do something more. Now, I need to speak with the guys in the team to understand which is the better way, to take the setting for tomorrow. We have a Superpole Race which is important, so we can start in front for the second race. The last race will be important to stay in front, but we will see. We will enjoy this moment a little bit and then look forward to tomorrow.”
Can Locatelli be in the mix for victory on Sunday? Find out with the WorldSBK VideoPass!