The announcement had been in the air for a while, but Garrett Gerloff’s good performances in recent races may have sparked some doubt at Yamaha, which today confirmed that the reigning Supersport World Champion, Andrea Locatelli, will be joining Toprak Razgatlıoğlu in the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team in 2021.
Locatelli experienced a stellar season riding the R6 prepared by the Bardahl Evan Bros team, scoring a record of 11 wins (with one round still to go). For 2021, the Italian rider will move to the Pata Yamaha team, paired with Toprak Razgatlıoğlu, who is currently still in the race for third place in the world rankings.
“I’m really proud and grateful to start this new adventure with Yamaha,” Locatelli said. “It’s an important step for me after a great first year in the WorldSBK paddock. I'd like to thank to Eric de Seynes, President of Yamaha Europe, Road Racing Manager Andrea Dosoli, and the Pata Yamaha Team’s Principal, Paul Denning, for the trust the placed in me. I’m really excited to start working with the new team and with my new crew chief, Andrew Pitt, two times world champion and who did a great job with Pata Yamaha. I can’t wait to start testing. It’ll be my first time riding the Yamaha R1, and I can’t wait to start preparations for the 2021 season.”
“It’s a pleasure to welcome Andrea to the official Yamaha team.” Paul Denning, the Team Principal, said. “This year he achieved something never before seen in the World Supersport class, unbeaten in the first ten races and only beaten in strange circumstances caused by bad weather. As World Champion at just 23 years of age, and coming from the same “school” as his former teammate, Fabio Quartararo, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to add him to the Official Team, and we’re all very happy to work with him, starting immediately with the shakedown tests, which will be Loka’s first experience with the Yamaha R1 Superbike. Along with Toprak, we’ll have the youngest and most exciting line-up of riders in the Superbike World Championship, and we can’t wait for 2021 to start.”