WorldSBK Misano: Locatelli looking for grip in hot conditions

| | WorldSBK
Picture: GeeBee Images

In his usual under-the-radar way Yamaha’s Andrea Locatelli has been going about his work well enough to be the best of the rest behind the leading trio of Bautista, Rea and Razgatlioglu.

It was his fellow Italian Michael Ruben Rinaldi who got two podium places at Misano, however, but Locatelli’s sixth place in Superpole, Race One, the Superpole Race and Race Two still leaves him fourth overall, and two places higher in the points ranking than Rinaldi.

Locatelli knew it was going to be hard work from the start of the races, given that the top three were out on their own, and that the Ducati guys appeared to have an edge at Misano.

“To be honest, today I expected to be not more close, because the gap was not so big,” said Locatelli on Saturday evening. “If I look Jonny, the gap is not so big because just in respect to other races, respect to Estoril for example, we close just from Jonathan to me eight seconds. So, it’s not too much, but for sure I don’t like the position when I closed today.

“We need to work a little bit more for tomorrow. But it’s not my objective, but today I think with this temperature, I hope that we can do something more. Immediately from the first lap right to the end it was really difficult on the rear grip. I lost a lot on this part. We need to focus on this part of the bike to improve a little bit for tomorrow.”

Even on Saturday it seemed obvious that the red bikes had something extra over everyone, unless you were called Razgatlioglu or Rea.

“Yeah, probably,” he said. “Is the track of Ducati for sure,” said Locatelli. “Also during the testing, they come here to do a lot of tests. So, for sure for Ducati is a good track. But, normally and also here we lose a little bit with respect to the Ducati on the straight. For sure it’s not easy for us. But, we need to work on our bike.

“We need to try to trust in myself. We need to try to get something with the feeling with the bike, also in hot conditions, to try to close the gap and to try to stay in front also of Ducati here.”

When it was cooler on Friday, Locatelli felt better. “Yesterday the conditions were a little bit better for me,” he said again in Saturday. “The feeling was much better. Immediately also yesterday I rode really fast in FP1. Today in hot conditions, the bike was not really good. So, for sure we can do something to close the gap and maybe to fight in this case with Bassani and Rinaldi.”

On Sunday, with two more sixth places under his belt, he said, “We need to continue to work with our programme with our tyre, because normally we have the X and 0, and when we use these tyres, the feeling with the bike is not so bad. So, now we will see in Donington which tyre we can use - also for the weather. We hope good weather, for sure. This was our best here in Misano.”

With five potential choices of rear tyres, and a true five in the Superpole race in which both Honda’s used the SCQ tyres, Locatelli was one who thought that may have been too many, when the riders really only have two Friday sessions to practice in during 2022.

“We never used the new tyre, so we need to try the new tyre,” he stated. “On Friday the weather was a little bit different with respect to yesterday and today. So, for sure it’s not easy work. Normally, I don’t have a lot of experience to know and to work with the tyres. Now normally we use the X and with the X we have a good bike, we have a good feeling.

“So, with a new tyre, it probably was a good tyre, because we see that a lot of bikes, like Ducati, use this new one. So, maybe it was a tyre for the Ducati. I don’t know. But in the end, we need to work with our programme we know. But also for sure we need to try to work with the new tyre to understand if we can have a little bit more potential.”