After some confusion following Superpole this morning, where Locatelli initially had his fastest lap cancelled, the Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK squad lined up first and second on the grid for the first points-paying race at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in WorldSBK since 2019.
It was “Loka” who got the hole-shot to lead the field into Turn 1, holding off attacks from Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Ducati) and his teammate Razgatlıoğlu until the Turkish ace hit the front on Lap 4. An opening set of laps that has audiences – and team management – equal parts thrilled and apprehensive!
The dream of a team 1-2 was shortly dispatched as main championship rivals Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) made a charge for the podium as the race settled in. Razgatlıoğlu held off Bautista until Lap 12 this time out, taking a hard-fought second place podium position once again at the end of Lap 19. The silver lining was in the #54 rider achieving a special career milestone of 100 WorldSBK podiums with the result.
Locatelli also battled hard in the extreme Imola heat, crossing the line in fourth position with hopes of fine tuning his R1 WorldSBK set-up to battle for the podium for the full race distance.
Tomorrow is another chance to change the narrative, with a 15-minute Warm-Up at 9:00 CEST, the 10-lap Superpole Race at 11:00 and Race 2 at 14:00.