The Yamaha star was back on the podium for the first time in 12 races with his third in the Superpole Race
Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) returned to the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship podium at the Autodrom Internacional do Algarve with third in Sunday’s Tissot Superpole Race. It was the first time since Imola’s Superpole Race that the #55 had stood on the rostrum but he was able to do so again during the Pirelli Portuguese Round, with the Italian rider already looking ahead to the season finale at Jerez and fighting for top results again.
Locatelli took third in the Tissot Superpole session but started Race 1 from the back of the grid after being sanctioned following his Race 2 retirement at Aragon. ‘Loka’ rode his bike back to the pits despite being given the black flag with orange disc and the FIM Stewards penalised him with a back of the grid start. Despite this, the Italian battled his way into the top ten as he finished in ninth to complete a strong comeback.
For the Superpole Race, the 13-time podium finisher started from the front row, and he was able to convert this into his seventh podium of the year, almost double his best tally from his rookie campaign when he got four rostrums. This gave him third on the grid for Race 2 but the #55 dropped behind Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) and the charging Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) to fifth, finishing around five seconds off the podium.
Discussing his weekend and the return to the podium, Locatelli said: “It was an amazing Superpole Race. We finished in P3, and we started there again for Race 2. It was a strange weekend to start last from Race 1. I lost the opportunity to understand the bike very well. Race 2 was a little bit more difficult. Some points were a bit difficult, especially on the front after ten laps. In the end, it’s a positive weekend. No mistakes, we got some points, and we were fast in Superpole. We need to improve the feeling a little bit especially at the front, but I think we can say it’s another good weekend.
“Honestly, I think from Magny-Cours we found a really good feeling again. We found a good balance with the bike and I’m always trusting this, always pushing to try to be stronger. It’s important to finish the season well and try to prepare for next season because it’s really important for me and Yamaha. My approach is always to try pushing. At some tracks, we’re a little bit faster and this was a good track for me, especially during the winter. With these conditions, it was a little bit difficult, so we need to work in all conditions to find a good feeling and try to close the gap. The gap is not so big from the front, especially when I look at Toprak. Let’s see what we can do at Jerez, but I want to arrive really confident and try to push to the maximum.”
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