Andrea Locatelli: ‘The feeling was amazing’, crashed when ‘the bike was in neutral’

Andrea Locatelli says he felt ‘amazing’ aboard his Yamaha R1 before crashing out of victory contention in Race 2 of the WorldSBK season-opener.

Andrea Locatelli, race 2, Australian WorldSBK, 25 February
Andrea Locatelli, race 2, Australian WorldSBK, 25 February

Like Alex Lowes, Andrea Locatelli was showing more pace than race leader Alvaro Bautista as the final race of the WorldSBK season-opener reached the concluding stages.

Locatelli closed in on Bautista and Lowes before making a move on the latter at turn four.

However, as he ran wide, Locatelli swiftly applied the gas only to highside over the top of his R1.

A clear opportunity for his first WorldSBK win missed, Locatelli said: “I’m fine. The feeling was amazing in Race 2. I think, during this weekend, we did a really good job and never made mistakes. 

“Unfortunately, we checked the data, and we don’t know why, but the bike was in neutral. I was wide and then I tried to put the gas on again, I made a mistake and lost the rear.

“The first problem was the entry to the corner, so this was a big shame because everything was working well.

“It was the last lap, and we were fighting for the win. Looks like we were living a dream but not a good one!”

While Locatelli threw away the chance of winning his first Superbike race, the Italian dominated new team-mate Jonathan Rea.

The six-time world champion also crashed out of the race when running in tenth spot on lap three.

Potentially Yamaha’s best bet of winning races going forward, Locatelli knows how high his ceiling is and is eager to prove he can achieve big results.

Locatelli added: “Sunday would’ve been an unbelievable day if we finished the race! We are stronger, we showed our potential.

“We were always at the front from testing, free practices, and all sessions. This is the best thing for us.

“I’d always like to forget when something happens, like last year at Aragon, and we need to forget Race 2.

“We were able to win the race, but this happened. We need to be positive, look forward and I can’t wait to get back on track because finishing four days of riding with a crash is not the best.”

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