WorldSBK Official Test: Late charge from Locatelli lands him on top in FP1, Gardner leads the way for Independents

By February 20, 2023 WorldSBK

WorldSBK Official Test: Late charge from Locatelli lands him on top in FP1, Gardner leads the way for Independents

WorldSBK By February 20, 2023

WorldSBK Official Test: Late charge from Locatelli lands him on top in FP1, Gardner leads the way for Independents

The sun was shining on the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, with track temperature sitting at 43 degrees as the green flag waved on first Free Practice session of the day for WorldSBK. A 2-hour session allowed plenty of opportunity for last minute testing, with a late shake up in the standings in the final five-minutes.

Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.It – Racing Ducati) looked seemingly untouchable in the first Free Practice session of the Official Test, but a late charge and untouchable lap from Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) with just two-minutes to go saw the Italian land on top with a 1:31.008.

Last year, Locatelli tackled his first WorldSBK weekend at Phillip Island where he found himself consistently within the top 5, with the Yamaha rider looking to come out strong in the new season.

Reigning World Champion Alvaro Bautista was relegated down to second position after the #55’s late charge, posting a 1:31.148, +0.140 to Locatelli. Bautista completed 40 laps, although despite putting in his time attack towards the late half of the session, he wasn’t able to improve on his time set early on.

Rounding out the top three was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) with a 1:31.260, following by Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) in fourth spot.

While his teammate topped the timesheets, it was a less than ideal start for 2021 World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK), who crashed out late in the session at Turn 10. Razgatlioglu still found himself in the top 5, with a 1:31.564.

Leading the Independent team charge was none other than Australia’s Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) – a strong start for his first WorldSBK home race, just over six-tenths behind Locatelli with a 1:31.697. Following close behind was his teammate and two-time World Supersport Champion, Dominique Aegerter.

Top six below from WorldSBK FP1 below, full results here:

  1. Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) 1’31.008s
  2. Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.140s
  3. Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) +0.535s
  4. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) +0.535s
  5. Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) +0.536s
  6. Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) +0.689s
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