The Italian rookie claimed fifth place in Race 1 at Assen, equalling his best WorldSBK result to date in his debut campaign
While all eyes were on the thrilling three-way battle at the front of the field at the TT Circuit Assen, Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) quietly claimed his best ever MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship result in the Tissot Superpole session with seventh and his joint-best race result with fifth at the Prosecco DOC Dutch Round.
Locatelli took seventh on the grid for Race 1 and the Tissot Superpole Race after a strong showing in the 15-minute session and moved up two places in Race 1 to claim fifth place; his best result in WorldSBK and one he has achieved twice after doing so in Race 2 at Estoril. On that occasion, Locatelli was 14.011s back from Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), who won the race, but the gap in Race 1 at Assen was just 6.203s on Lap 19, the last full lap completed before a Red Flag was shown.
With the progress made by Locatelli in his maiden WorldSBK campaign, following his stunning WorldSSP title success as a rookie in 2020, the 24-year-old Italian now wants to take another step forward and claim his first podium. He said: “It’s a great day for me because we worked very well. Yesterday, it was a difficult practice. We understand some tyres but also, we have a new tyre here. We tried to consider everything. Today I’m really happy during the race because the feeling with the bike is so nice. I can push every lap. I just lost a little bit on the first and second laps, but in the end, I can close the gap to the front. Maybe we can fight for the podium if we stay more in front on the first and second laps. This is the race and also this is my first race here on a superbike. I know the track but with a superbike, it’s my first time. I have a good feeling and maybe we can take a big step in Warm Up.”
The Italian rookie has continually made steps forward throughout 2021 and closing the gap to the leaders is the next step Locatelli can now tick off. With Locatelli knowing where he lost out throughout the titanic encounter in Race 1 at Assen, and now with experience of the circuit under his belt, Locatelli will be looking to move up the order yet again.
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