In a bid to retake the “Triple Crown” in the ultra-competitive premier class, Yamaha Motor Research & Development Europe’s R1 WorldSBK development programme has delivered further updates and refinements aimed at increased rear grip and acceleration, as well as even better turning characteristics, to the R1’s already race-winning assets.
For Razgatlıoğlu and Locatelli, 2023 is their third season together with the numbers #54 and #55 side by side in the team’s pitbox. Razgatlıoğlu starts his fourth year in Yamaha Racing blue with an enviable WorldSBK record of 82 podiums, 32 wins, 26 best race laps and eight pole positions from 156 race starts – but it’s his 2021 Riders’ Championship title that the Turkish ace wants most to emulate.
Yamaha too is targeting the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ Championships, with the vital help of teammate Locatelli, after finishing as runner up in all three last year. “Loka” is also in search of his first WorldSBK race victory, having finished a career-best second place in 2022 and qualified on the front row for the first time. Increased competition across the grid means both 26-year-old riders, and the team, are aiming to deliver a “perfect season” in terms of their approach from the very start.
Pre-season testing continues today following an explosive start last week in Jerez that saw Razgatlıoğlu fastest on both days, nearly breaking the WorldSBK lap record. Two days at Autódromo Internacional do Algarve (Portimão, Portugal) lie ahead, where both Razgatlıoğlu and Locatelli will work to finalise technical developments ahead of the season-opener in Australia at Phillip Island from 24-26 February – with one final WorldSBK Official Test at the same venue.