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Locatelli Takes Emphatic Win on WorldSSP Debut at Phillip Island

Locatelli Takes Emphatic Win on WorldSSP Debut at Phillip Island

Evan Bros. Yamaha WorldSSP Supported rider Andrea Locatelli, got his 2020 campaign off to the perfect start in the opening round at Phillip Island, taking an emphatic win in his FIM Supersport World Championship debut. Locatelli was joined on the podium by GMT94 Yamaha WorldSSP Supported rider Jules Cluzel, who bounced back from a high-speed crash in FP3 yesterday to finish third in the race today.

The 16-lap Phillip Island WorldSSP race was, once again, run under flag-to-flag rules, with riders free to choose when to pit for a change of tyres, under the condition that no tyre be used for more than 10 laps. 

Locatelli started the race from pole position, after smashing the outright lap record in qualifying yesterday. The Italian took the lead on the opening lap and immediately started to pull a gap on his pursuers. As the first riders started to make their stops for fresh tyres, Locatelli had extended his lead over the battle for second place to almost six seconds.

The Evan Bros Yamaha rider was one of the last riders to return to the pits, coming in at the end of lap nine to fresh rubber. A perfect pit stop saw him return to the track inside the top 10, but he was back into the lead by the time he crossed the finish line at the end of his first lap on new tyres.

Locatelli continued to extend his lead to the end, eventually crossing the line to win on his WorldSSP debut with an advantage of 5.98s over second-placed Raffaele De Rosa and Cluzel in third.

GMT94 Yamaha's Corentin Perolari got the better of a last-lap battle with Lucas Mahias to finish fifth, while the Kallio Racing Yamaha pairing of Hannes Soomer and Isaac Viñales were seventh and 10th respectively. 

Yamaha bLU cRU WorldSSP rider Andy Verdoïa scored a point with 15th place in his WorldSSP debut while his teammate Galang Hendra Pratama was disappointed to finish outside the points in 18th position.

For full results click here

Andrea Locatelli

Position: 1st

It's been an unbelievable weekend and one in which we haven't made a single mistake, which was important for me. This track is a little bit different to others that we will race on and I may have pushed a little bit more this weekend because it is also one of my favourites. I'm happy because the whole team worked really well all weekend, we were faster in qualifying and took pole position and then we were faster in the race and took the win. It's been so good. But now we need to keep focus and push at every race, especially at the one or two tracks that I haven't raced at before.

Jules Cluzel

Position: 3rd

It's been a good weekend overall, even if we struggled a little bit initially. My target is always to do a lot of laps, especially on used tyres, but it wasn't possible here, which didn't help. So we focused on being fast on Saturday until I had a big crash in FP3, which meant refocusing for qualifying, in which I was happy to finish fourth. But we knew that we would struggle in the race without a good strategy and a perfect pit stop. We put in place a good plan and then followed it, with the result that I was able to follow De Rosa in second quite comfortably but trying to pass him in the closing stages would have been too much of a risk. The target was to finish on the podium and in the points, so third was a good result for us today.