He had been deprived of the podium at the end of the Superpole Race, when he was already in the parc fermé, but he made a great comeback in Race 2: Andrea Locatelli consecrated himself to Assen, joining the group of great World Superbike riders thanks to his solid performance of the whole weekend, culminating in a splendid podium. He is the first in the premier class of production derivatives for the Yamaha rider, who in the early stages of the race also managed to take the lead, only to bow to Jonathan Rea and Scott Redding, finishing in third position.
On paper, the podium arrives in Race 2, but in practice Locatelli had shown himself up to the top three positions already in the Superpole Race, so much so that he crossed the finish line in third position, just a few tenths from Razgatlioglu. Mocked, however, by the track limits rule, he had to settle for fourth place decided by the Race Direction when he was already enjoying the closed park, but the party was only postponed.
Locatelli had not shown that he was upset already at the end of the Superpole Race and explains the rules and the reason why he disagreed: “If you touch the green during the race you get a warning and then you get a Long Lap Penalty if you do it more times, but on the last lap everything changes. If you hit the green on the last lap you have to give up a position or lose a second. In this case I don’t understand, because I didn’t feel I touched the green and I gave Toprak a second. Also I don’t understand the gap, in the end if you see the classification you notice that in the time of the race there is the position and the second ”.
“Fortunately today we managed to get on the podium in Race 2, this morning we lost it, but these are the rules. If you touch the green on the last lap you have to give up the position, but I don’t agree with this rule very much, because it does not bring advantage. I think we have to consider everything, because if you take the position when you touch the green it is a speech. But today at the last corner I was already ahead of Michael and I think it’s not fair, but these are the rules ”.
In Race 2, however, the redemption arrived: “Today, however, I am really happy, because in Race 2 I was very fast, I imposed my pace in the first part of the race. I pushed a lot and opened a gap with Rea, but towards the end I started to struggle with the rear tire, because we used the new X. I was spinning a lot in the last five laps and struggling to ride, so Redding passed me. But I managed to get my first podium and I’m very happy, because I didn’t think it was possible in Assen, which isn’t easy. But when we got there we were quick right away. I think we worked well all weekend ”.
The choice of tire was therefore fundamental, as the Yamaha rider explains: “In the first part of the race, when I was in front, I tried to push and try to reach the limit, but after ten laps the feeling with the rear was not good. Rea was coming and I tried to push again, but when he passed me I tried to stay with him, but it’s really difficult. Then in the last five laps he took a bit of a gap and I couldn’t do more, also because we wanted to try SCX, but with the different temperatures we were not helped. Yesterday we tried the SC0 and I was consistent and fast. Maybe today with the SC0 I could have done better, but we can’t know. Surely the last lap was very complicated but luckily I had a good gap with the driver behind me. But I’m a rookie, I have to gain experience and make mistakes to understand how to use these tires ”.
“For me this bike is like MotoGP – says Locatelli talking about his result today – My dream was MotoGP, but for a number of reasons it was not possible to stay in the old paddock. But I really like this and this is my first year with Yamaha in Superbike and we got on the podium after a few races. This is only the fifth weekend for us and it is wonderful. I have no pressure, I want to have fun and I had a good feeling here in Assen ”.
The podium is an important prize for the Yamaha rider, who at this point can think of talking to the team and looking to the future: “Renewal with Yamaha? Maybe the time has come, but in my head now I just think about enjoying everything and trying to fight more in the race. For the renewal we will see in the future, but for me it is certainly a good family, they helped me last year in Supersport as well. We will probably continue together, but we will have to sit down and talk about next year ”.