Andrea Locatelli bullish about chances at Phillip Island after ‘impressive long run’

Andrea Locatelli believes he’s ready to make noise at the WorldSBK season-opener later this month.

Andrea Iannone Portimao
Andrea Iannone Portimao

Although six-time WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea has joined the team, and therefore stolen a lot of the headlines, Andrea Locatelli has also been strong in pre-season testing.

That was especially true at Portimao as the Italian was one of the fastest riders on the final day.

Yamaha have again brought a competitive package that Locatelli, Rea and GRT’s Remy Gardner have all gelled with.

And for Locatelli, it was his long run pace that had him the most upbeat about his chances in Australia.

“It was an interesting test, especially today because I think we made a big improvement particularly in the long run – we did a really good job,” began Locatelli.

“I always had a really good feeling on my R1 in all the days, so this is the main point – and at the same time, we have been working well to be ready for Phillip Island.

“Let’s see what can happen there, it’s always a bit of a strange track, but to do a good job here in Portimão and Jerez was really important.

“It was the first time working with Tom [O’Keefe] and we are working very well together in these days, everything looks positive – we changed some things in the way of working, for him it was the first tests with me and with this bike but I already know it very well!

“We have a lot of data and completed very good long runs, with fast lap times every lap – so we can be happy with our work and now I am looking forward to the first round of the Championship.”

Speaking of Gardner, the Australian has been one of the most consistent satellite riders in pre-season testing.

Like Locatelli, Gardner ended the two day test confident following a strong race simulation.

Gardner added: "We had another positive test here in Portimao, we definitely enjoyed our time here in Portugal and in general the days of testing we had.

“On the final day we also focused on race performance, trying a long run. We're still looking for the maximum performance, but I'm happy with the job done so far.

“Finally, I tried a flying lap as well; unfortunately I had some traffic on my fastest laps, but I'm satisfied overall with the lap time."

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