DOSOLI DECLARES A NEW CHALLENGER: "Locatelli can be a title contender this season"

One of the hot topics leaving Phillip Island after Round 1 of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship was that Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) has made a clear step forward and is within striking distance of a first win. Perhaps when that first victory does come true, it’ll unlock the flood gates for ‘Loka’ and, in the eyes of Andrea Dosoli – Yamaha Motor Europe’s Road Racing Manager – could see him challenge for the title.

DOSOLI’S THOUGHTS: “Locatelli made a big step”

Two second places were achieved by Locatelli in Race 1 and the Superpole Race, seeing him right in the fight across both and really demonstrating the steps he’s made, as well a successful start with new crew chief Tom O’Kane. In Race 2, a story of what could have been as he put in two Superpole-style laps to catch right onto the back of race leaders Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) and Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), passing the Brit at Turn 4 on the last lap only to crash out of victory contention due to a false neutral. Nonetheless, the 27-year-old is third in the Championship and riding the best we’ve ever seen and it’s probably not just the Phillip Island effect either.

“It was clear to see that Andrea Locatelli made a big step,” began Dosoli, debriefing his way through the #55’s weekend. “Not only was this clear from his performance but for me, the biggest thing was his approach to the weekend. Before heading to Phillip Island, Andrea and his crew chief Tom O’Kane had a very clear target in mind – they wanted to win a race, and their performance on track shows they can achieve this.”

GOING FOR GOLD: “He’s thinking like a winner… can be a title contender this season”

Continuing on, Dosoli praised the mentality of the 2020 WorldSSP Champion who is now in his fourth season of WorldSBK action: “I think we can say that this weekend Andrea has shown a new level of maturity as throughout the weekend he displayed a winning mentality; he is thinking like a winner. This is a combination of the steps he has taken himself but also what he has learned from his new crew chief so I would like to congratulate both Andrea and his crew for this. It is just a matter of time before his first WorldSBK win now.

“In both the Superpole Race and Race 2 he was the quickest rider on the track making an impressive series of overtakes. It was only the unlucky false neutral on the last lap which prevented him winning in Race 2, I am 100% convinced he deserved the win in that race.  Of course, he’s disappointed with the result of the last race, but these things happen in racing – the most important thing is he showed his potential to fight at the front. Locatelli can be a title contender this season.”

O’KANE SPEAKS: “It’s fantastic to be working with Andrea; he was strong in every area”

Locatelli’s crew chief, Tom O’Kane, also added about his first weekend working with the Italian and the potential that he has for the year ahead: “It’s fantastic to be working with Andrea, he is an extremely focused and professional rider. His feedback is good and he understands a lot, it’s hard to single out particular strengths because from what we saw at Phillip Island, he was strong in every area. He rode incredibly well all weekend in Australia and there is no doubt he can be a contender for the title this year.”

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