25th Mar 2024


RACE 1: Locatelli Nets Solid Fifth in Difficult Barcelona Race 1 for Pata Prometeon Yamaha

Andrea Locatelli led Pata Prometeon Yamaha to a fine fifth place in Race 1 of the Catalunya Round of the 2024 FIM Superbike World Championship in Spain today.

The team’s 27-year-old Italian recovered immediately from P9 on the grid to run fourth in the opening lap of the first WorldSBK feature race this weekend, before settling into a calculated race rhythm to conserve tyre life for the full 20 laps across the challenging 4.657km Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Fans were treated to a spectacular four-way battle into Turn 1 on Lap 9 alongside Alex Lowes (Kawasaki), Danilo Petrucci and Alvaro Bautista (both Ducati), but Locatelli got the better of them with a decisive cut-back immediately into Turn 2. Despite dropping back to P7 at the halfway point, losing a position to a Bautista via a hard pass through Turns 7 and 8, the Pata Prometeon Yamaha rider came back within the closing stages to clinch P5 with a pass on Petrucci on the penultimate lap.

Teammate Jonathan Rea was confident to make progress from the fifth row of the grid after a challenging Superpole session. But a mistake on the grid saw Rea burn out his clutch at the start race, leaving no option but to retire his machine before completing a lap in earnest.

Andrea Locatelli – SP: P9 / Race 1: P5

“Well, it was for sure a difficult race today, but I think in the end we managed not too bad. We got the top five, but I am not happy enough so let’s see where we can improve and we try pushing hard tomorrow to recover some positions to try to make a podium. It’s not so far, if maybe we can find something we can be fighting again for the podium. Today was difficult to manage both tyres front and rear, and we need to understand what we can work on and what we can do to try to be fast at the end of the race.”

Jonathan Rea – SP: P13 / Race 1: DNF

“Following a successful test aboard the R1 here last week, and after making significant progress during Free Practice yesterday, I was quietly confident about fighting for a good result in the race today. Qualifying didn’t go quite according to plan, but the longer runs yesterday where we focused on tyre conservation for the race meant a strong result was possible today. Unfortunately, I fried the clutch off the start and didn’t even manage to complete a lap. I’m sorry for the team, who worked incredibly hard in the run up to this race only for it to end on the first lap. But now we will put this behind us and focus on tomorrow, where we need a strong performance in the Superpole Race to ensure a good grid position for Race 2.”

Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Prometeon Yamaha:

“Qualifying was tough today and even though the lap times were super close, ninth and 13th made the job for Race 1 more difficult than we would have liked. That said, Loka made an incredible start from the third row to be in fourth position immediately, and after that rode a very well calculated race here in Catalunya. Managing the tyre wear is absolutely the only priority, Loka felt the pace was a little too fast at the start for this, so he dropped back a bit but potentially looking at the data in hindsight possibly he could have pushed little bit earlier for fourth place or even the podium. Good job for Andrea and his crew, another solid race. Unfortunately, JR’s error on the grid meant that he was unable to at least mirror Loka’s performance which we are sure he could have done – and it would have been great to have 20 laps worth of invaluable data. It’s a tough moment for an incredible rider, but we are confident that this low point for JR will soon be matched with some highs.”

RACE 2: Rea Recovers to Eighth in Barcelona Race 2, Locatelli Avoids Collision to Salvage Points

Pata Prometeon Yamaha riders Jonathan Rea and Andrea Locatelli finished the Catalunya Round of the 2024 FIM Superbike World Championship with positives to take forward, in light of a demanding weekend overall in Spain.

For Rea, an “unlucky” P13 finish in the Superpole Race saw the Northern Irishman start from the same position once again for Race 2, but fortunes started to reverse with strong progression in the opening lap to P8. He found confidence on his Yamaha R1 WorldSBK to battle spectacularly with Alex Lowes, Sam Lowes and Danilo Petrucci through the middle part of the main race. As the laps ticked down, Rea’s target was to push forward into the top five but he ended his second event with the team less than two seconds away after an encouraging ride.

The results were mirrored for teammate Locatelli, who took eighth position in the morning’s Superpole Race as a high point of the day. The 27-year-old was lucky to avoid a collision between Michael Rinaldi and Axel Bassani as the two crashed together in front of him on the opening lap of Race 2, forcing “Loka” to run deep into the Turn 4 gravel trap and lose over 13 seconds to the leaders. Re-joining at the very back of the field, Locatelli put his head down to grind his way through 20 laps and progress into the points – with a final lap overtake on Xavi Vierge earning him P13 at the chequered flag.

Now the Pata Prometeon Yamaha squad have three weeks to reset before WorldSBK returns to the TT Assen Circuit next month for the Dutch Round from 19-21 April.

Jonathan Rea – SPRC: P13 / Race 1: P8

“Overall, it’s been a very disappointing weekend, but we have made some progress – even if it hasn’t looked obvious from the outside – and we registered our first points of the season. Race 2 was a problem-free race, no issues, I just struggled starting P13 – you don’t have track position and you have to be a bit more aggressive in the beginning. When I caught up to the group, I had already wasted some tyre so I tried to conserve as much as possible to push for the top five when the grip dropped. I was catching but ran out of laps and the pace of the riders in front didn’t drop as much as I expected. There are some positives to take, it’s not where we want to be right now, but we move on to Assen and keep an open mind. The tide has to change, I feel like we’ve had a lot of issues thrown our way and we’re dealing with them well as a team, now we need to turn the page and do a good job in Assen – I’m looking forward to making a big step there.”

Andrea Locatelli – SPRC: P8 / Race 2: P13

“We finished today with an unlucky race – just because in the beginning a couple of riders wanted to go a bit crazy and didn’t have a mind to manage the race. I was close to crash when Rinaldi and Bassani went down in front of me, but I was really lucky not to. In the end, I enjoyed the races, I tried to push on the maximum and get the best feeling with the bike. For Race 2, I think we were more competitive than yesterday: we improved the grip and the life of the tyre, so this is something good for us and the team to understand the direction as well as to give us a lot of data. I can’t say that I’m really happy with the results but we are always pushing, every session, to try to do the maximum and we know that here in Barcelona it is not the best track for us. This is all we can say – I am happy about my level, happy about the guys because we never make a mistake and the R1 is working well, so let’s look forward in a positive way and see what we can do in Assen.”

Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Prometeon Yamaha:

“Catalunya has never been our “best friend” in the past, in fact it has been one of our most challenging circuits, and unfortunately today it wasn’t kind to us again. That said, from a performance point of view, the team, Yamaha and the riders gave their best and it was a relief after such a tough start to the season to see Jonathan get his first points on the board with a very consistent ride in Race 2. The race was definitely made more difficult by missing the 20 laps of experience and data from yesterday, but he was less than two seconds from fifth place at the flag so we’ll take that as a confidence builder on JR’s side as we head towards Assen – one of his favourite circuits. Loka has ridden fantastic all weekend, just as well as he did in Australia when he was on the podium, but he got extremely unlucky as he was forced to run off the track to avoid the crash of Rinaldi and Bassani on Lap 1. He kept his concentration levels to claw his way back into the points, and had the pace to fight for fourth position – so, like Australia, Loka’s best performing package was in Race 2 but bad luck has intervened. Whilst it’s been a challenging weekend, there are positives to take – as a group, we will continue to work hard and make sure Yamaha and the team is back where it belongs in Assen.”