Fourth on our top ten WorldSBK riders of 2021 is rookie sensation Andrea Locatelli after the Italian finished best of the rest behind Toprak Razgatlioglu, Jonathan Rea and Scott Redding. 

Coming off the back of a dominating 2020 WorldSSP title win, Locatelli developed into a consistent top four rider as he often outperformed those with more experience and larger expectations - Michael Rinaldi, Alex Lowes and Michael Van Der Mark are prime examples, which is why fourth on our list was a no-brainer.   

It wasn’t an easy start to WorldSBK for the former Moto2 rider though, as he claimed just one top five in his first 12 races - a fifth place during race two in Estoril.

However, Locatelli’s season took off in a big way at round five in Assen as he secured a maiden WorldSBK podium in race two, a result that came after already having a third place in the Superpole race taken away due to exceeding track limits on the final lap. 

Still, this started a sensational run of results as Locatelli would finish no lower than fourth in his next nine races which also included another two podium results. 

Although the 25 year-old was slightly fortuitous to claim third in Most due to Rea crashing out, it was a result that he earned by once again being best of the rest.  

After a disappointing Catalunya round, one that saw him finish outside the top ten for the first time since Donington Park, Locatelli returned to his top four form courtesy of a double fourth place finish in Jerez. 

That was then followed by another third place result in Portimao - his fourth and final podium of the season, while San Juan and Mandalika saw him claim top tens in all five races. 

Much like fellow rookie Axel Bassani, albeit at a higher level, Locatelli’s lack of mistakes and consistency was a huge reason for his success as a rookie. 

Locatelli, who returns to the factory Pata Yamaha team alongside world champion Razgatlioglu for 2022, will now be expecting to turn the majority of his 12 fourth place finishes into podiums and even wins, especially since Redding has departed Ducati for BMW, a switch that could take time for the ex-BSB champion to become a consistent top three rider again. 

Locatelli 2021 stats: 

Championship Finish: 4th

Points: 291

Wins: 0

Podiums: 4

Pole Positions: 0

Top Ten Results: 30

Points Scores: 34

Front Row Starts: 0

Overall crash total: 6

Non-Finishes: 3

Races: 37