Andrea Locatelli’s incredible rookie season in WorldSBK draws high praise from Team Principal at Pata Yamaha, Paul Denning. 

After taking a few rounds to find his feet in the top class, Locatelli was the fourth best rider from Assen onwards as he reeled in Michael Rinaldi and Alex Lowes for P4 in the championship. 

Sure, Lowes suffered with injuries as the season went on, however, Locatelli was already outperforming the Kawasaki rider before that took place. 

In fact, Locatelli even challenged the championship’s top three of team-mate Toprak Razgatlioglu, Jonathan Rea and Scott Redding on occasions. 

The 2020 WorldSSP champion also played a big role in helping Yamaha clinch the manufacturers title after getting the better of Michael Rinaldi during their last round battle in Mandalika. 

Locatelli finished 18 of the last 25 races inside the top five which led to high praise from team boss Paull Denning following the season finale.

Denning added: "Loka capped off a fantastic maiden season with fourth in the championship and as the top rookie. 

"He has really shown that he is an unbelievable talent and has done a fantastic job to be best of the rest behind the top three. The conditions were really tricky in Mandalika, but he rode two mature races. 

"We have a great group of people here in the team and I just want to thank everyone for their hard work and commitment this year."

Of course, with Locatelli being part of a championship winning team courtesy of Razgatlioglu becoming the first Turkish WorldSBK champion, the Italian will be expected to get even closer to the top three during his second season.