One seat at the factory team remains unfilled following the announcement Toprak Razgatlioglu would leave for BMW next season
There are several key questions in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship right now in terms of the 2024 rider line-up and one of them involves who will join Andrea Locatelli at Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK following the news that Toprak Razgatligolu would join the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team for 2024. Ahead of the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”, key figures from Yamaha discussed the manufacturer’s plans following Razgatlioglu’s departure.
DOSOLI’S THOUGHTS: hoping to promote from within…
Andrea Dosoli, Road Racing Manager at Yamaha Motor Europe, explained the next steps for Yamaha from the manufacturer’s side. Previously, Yamaha have tried to promote from within with such as when Locatelli went from winning the World Supersport title on a Yamaha in 2020 and straight into the factory Yamaha WorldSBK squad in 2021. Dosoli discussed the timeframe and outlined what he wants to see from the rider who takes Razgatlioglu’s seat in 2024.
Dosoli said: “I’m sure you can see the huge investment that Yamaha have made this year. Currently, we have six riders in WorldSBK with a Yamaha Motor Europe contract. We will keep monitoring how those guys will develop and, in the next couple of months, if we realise one of them will have the potential to fill the seat of Toprak, I hope it will be given to one of our riders. If this does not happen, it means our riders need more time to fight with ‘Loka’, in that case we will start to look outside for other riders.”
DENNING SAYS: no news on Locatelli’s 2024 teammate
Paul Denning, Team Principal at Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK, was on hand to discuss Razgatlioglu’s departure from a team point of view. Although Denning was not drawn into conversations about who could be Locatelli’s teammate next season, he was full of praise for the Italian rider who is enjoying his best season in WorldSBK to date with five podiums in the first four rounds so far, exceeding his total in each of the last three campaigns.
Denning explained: “Right now, we’re focused on putting the best solutions together for next year but, more importantly, trying to become World Champions again with Toprak this year. It’s important to recognise that Andrea was absolutely our target to renew whether or not Toprak stayed with Yamaha. The improvements he’s made this year are significant. He still has margin to do more, to believe in himself more and the next step is for him to win a race and take it to the next level. We’re really happy with everything that he’s doing. It was always the target to keep him with us. I can tell you nothing about Locatelli’s teammate.”
LOCATELLI REACTS: ‘maybe a chance to have more focus on me’
Locatelli has been teammates with Razgatlioglu since he joined the Pata Yamaha squad in 2021 after his stunning WorldSSP title success, meaning 2024 will be his first time with a different teammate in the box. Ahead of his home round where he will be aiming to claim his first WorldSBK win and take his first podium at Misano, Locatelli discussed Razgatlioglu’s departure from Yamaha and gave his thoughts on the 2024 season, where he will remain with Yamaha after signing a new two-year contract.
He said: “It’s never easy to stay on Toprak’s side because he is a really fast rider and always trying to win the race. My target is try to complete the work and I think, maybe now, I have more chance to try and work on my side with Yamaha to try and improve a little bit more and get the focus only on me, try to push to have something that makes me a little bit faster. Just pushing on the gas, just enjoying and we will see what we can get.”
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