We've been treated to a very exciting round of WSBK in 2021 so far. With a lot of thrills, spills, and neck and neck racing, the battle between Kawasaki and Yamaha continues to rage on in the top two spots. However, despite Toprak Razgatlioglu's stellar performance so far, there's no denying that his fellow Pata Yamaha Brixx rider, Andrea Locatelli, has been doing really well, especially considering his rookie status in the world series.
As we know, Yamaha isn't one to leave a good effort unrewarded. As such, Team Blue has offered Andrea Locatelli a two-year contract extension, all the way until the end of the 2023 season. Unsurprisingly, Locatelli has accepted the offer, and re-signs with Yamaha for another two years. This means that the Yamaha racing team will remain unchanged for the next two years, with Toprak Razgatlioglu signing for yet another two years, as well. It was indeed Locatelli's impressive performance thus far which urged Yamaha to keep the rookie in the team.
Currently fourth in the overall standings, suffice it to say that Locatelli has exceeded expectations surrounding his performance. The Italian motorcycle racer debuted in WSBK this year, following a run in last year's World Supersport Series, and three seasons in Moto2 before that. Yamaha road racing manager Andrea Dosoli stated in an article published by Motorsport, "We are delighted to confirm that Andrea will remain with the Yamaha family until at least the end of the 2023 WorldSBK season. 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."
It's clear to see that Andrea Locatelli has quite a lot of potential in the World Superbike Championship. Sitting at fourth on the leaderboard on your rookie season is by no means an easy task, his consistent performance, with a good number of top-five finishes, shows his talent. Dosoli concluded saying, "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."
Sources: Motorsport, WorldSBK via Instagram