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Bittersweet End to Estoril Weekend for GRT Yamaha

Bittersweet End to Estoril Weekend for GRT Yamaha

On the final day of FIM World Superbike Championship action at Circuito Estoril, GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team’s Garrett Gerloff and Kohta Nozane had mixed races, with the former taking another fourth-place finish, while his Japanese teammate Kohta Nozane enjoyed his “best race yet”.

It was a day full of highs and lows for the GRT Yamaha team, only Garrett Gerloff could take part in the morning’s Warm-Up, as Kohta Nozane was forced to sit out the session while his crew fixed a technical issue. 

Gerloff’s quick and consistent race pace then allowed him to stay with the leaders during the Superpole Race, in which he finished only two seconds behind the winner, scoring yet another fourth-place finish.

Unfortunately, his Portuguese weekend then took a downwards turn during Race 2, as he had an accident in Turn 6, which also involved Michael Ruben Rinaldi. Gerloff took the blame for the crash, which was caused by a mistake in the braking zone rather than by an attempt to overtake. As a consequence of the incident, Race Direction decided to penalize the Texan, who will have to start Race 1 in the upcoming Misano round from the pit lane.

On Nozane’s side of the garage, Sunday was a day of steady progress. Despite having skipped the Warm-Up, the 25-year-old was 15th in the Superpole Race and then continued improving in the main event of the afternoon.

After starting 16th, he ran what he called “my best race so far”, maintaining a consistent pace and managing to keep in touch with the factory Honda of Leon Haslam, before finishing 13th.

Garrett Gerloff - SPRC: P4 / R2: DNF

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

Our Sunday started really well. We made some further improvements to the bike overnight and everything felt really good in the Warm-Up. I was excited for the Superpole Race, which went smoothly - I had a better start and a better first corner than yesterday and I was able to keep up with the top three. I felt confident, but there were a couple of corners in which I was losing a little bit of ground. Still, I was happy to get another fourth place and to gain a lot of useful information for the long race. In Race 2, I had a great start and I was trying to settle in and keep calm, but I had a really strange moment going into Turn 6. I braked a little earlier than I had all day in order to start saving some tyres, but the bike kicked me once the rear wheel sat down. It was so violent that I lost control. I did my best to slow down and go straight, but unfortunately I tagged another rider and we crashed. I am glad that we were both okay, we will now try to put the accident behind us and focus on the next round at Misano, which is a track that I really like.

Kohta Nozane: SPRC – P15 / R2 – P13

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

Despite having never run any laps here, I was expecting to like it before the weekend. But on Friday, I immediately realized that the circuit is a lot more technical than first meets the eye. The big crash I suffered also slowed our work down, but I feel really grateful towards my team for basically giving me a new bike. They have been working so hard, and thanks to them I have been able to race all the laps so far. Today we also missed the Warm-Up, but it was the right choice as we managed to find the cause of yesterday’s technical problems and that saved our races. Race 2 was my best race so far since the beginning of the season and the next round will be in Misano, where I have already tested. I had a good feeling there too, so I will try to get there in my best physical shape.