The GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team racer did not expect to be able to taste MotoGP. He filled the Petronas SRT slot in the Dutch GP, replacing Franco Morbidelli who was recovering from a severe left knee injury.
Even though he was new to the YZR-M1 and the Assen Circuit, he was able to finish in 17th position. Judging from these conditions, Gerloff is better than Luca Marini.
Four weeks after the race, Gerloff returned to the track. Previous experience is obviously very helpful.
However, the M1 and YZF-R1’s different characters make for a bit of a hassle. On Race 1, he is perched in sixth place, Superpole Race P8, and crash on Race 2.
“Having ridden the M1, you could say it was very helpful. But maybe it’s worse getting to know the track with a MotoGP bike and then coming back here,” he recalled.
“Motorcycles are definitely different. In the first session with R1, I struggled to reach the reference point. Everything feels different.
“The characteristics of these two bikes are very different. This track is very unique. It would be better not to go on a MotoGP bike first.”
Comparing the sensation of riding the M1 and R1, Gerloff felt the WSBK motor was less sensitive to bumps. The chassis of the WSBK motorbike is not rigid, plus Pirelli tires are relatively soft compared to Michelin for MotoGP, are seen as the cause.
“The bike is not scary at all and riding it is much more stable and predictable. Feels better with a Superbike,” he said.
“When you ride the bike you don’t feel when a track has a lot of bumps. Maybe because of the bike and mostly because of the tires.”
If you look at the difference in terms of time lap, Gerloff assesses not too significant between the two.
“The difference is not big. In fact, I expected a very significant difference. I should have been faster with a MotoGP bike,” he said.
During MotoGP qualification, the 26-year-old racer recorded a best time of 1 minute 33.739 seconds (with an air temperature of 26 degrees Celsius, track temperature 37 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, during the second WSBK free practice, Gerloff reached 1:34,512 (air temperature 19 degrees Celsius, at track 32 degrees Celsius).
When the MotoGP race, Gerloff was able to reach 1:34,569. He reached 1 minute 34.917 seconds on the second lap of WSBK.
Garrett Gerloff, Petronas Yamaha SRT
Photo by: Dorna