Andrea Locatelli earns Yamaha WorldSBK extension to end of 2023

Andrea Locatelli will remain with the factory Yamaha team alongside Toprak Razgatlioglu for the 2022 and 2023 WorldSBK Championship seasons

Andrea Locatelli - Pata Yamaha WorldSBK

Yamaha Racing has announced Andrea Locatelli will remain with the team for another two seasons as a reward for what has developed into an immensely impressive rookie campaign.

The Italian - a race winner in Moto3 and experienced GP competitor - landed the prestigious factory Pata Yamaha seat for 2021 on the back of a dominant turn in the 2020 WorldSSP Championship, a runaway campaign that yielded a record-breaking 12 wins from 15 races.

Though he struggled to find his form on the heavier Yamaha R1 initially with only one finish inside the top nine from the opening four rounds, his form has soared from Round 5 at Assen onwards with a series of front-running performances. 

Indeed, over the last four events, Locatelli has now climbed onto the podium three times and hasn’t strayed outside the top five in any of the last 12 races.

A run of form that has lifted him to a lofty fourth in the overall standings too, Yamaha has duly responded in kind with a contract for 2022 and 2023 as team-mate to Toprak Razgatlioglu.

“I’m really happy to be extending my contract with Yamaha for two more years,” he said. “For me, it’s a great opportunity. We have a really good group, a good team and a good bike, so I think in the future we can do very well. 

“I’m so excited to be here and to continue to be a part of the Yamaha family. I’d like to say a special thanks to Andrea Dosoli, Eric de Seynes [Yamaha Motor Europe President & CEO], and everyone at Yamaha for giving me this opportunity. Now, we have two more years to try to improve together and achieve the best possible results.”

Having acknowledged at the top of the year drafting Locatelli directly into the factory outfit would be a risk, Yamaha Motor Europe Manager Andrea Dosoli says he was always committed to nurturing the Italian into a frontrunner.

Better still, he believes Locatelli is a shining example of the firm’s rider development programme that stretches from the factory WorldSBK team to GRT Yamaha, the WorldSSP ranks and the grassroots Yamaha bLUcRU series.

“We are delighted to confirm that Andrea will remain with the Yamaha family until at least the end of the 2023 WorldSBK season,” Dosoli said. “He has been an integral part of Yamaha’s step-up program, and has demonstrated what our vision has been over the last few years. 

“We expected that ‘Loka’ would be fast this year, but very few anticipated that he would already be challenging for podiums at such an early stage in his WorldSBK career. 

“We want to secure him for the future and help guide him towards even greater success, and this new contract will give us the best opportunity to help him achieve that.”

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