You are about to leave this website. Are you sure?

I agree, take me there

Garrett Gerloff Talks Track Familiarisation Ahead of his Debut WorldSBK Season

Garrett Gerloff Talks Track Familiarisation Ahead of his Debut WorldSBK Season

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team rider, and World Championship rookie, Garrett Gerloff is facing a steep learning curve in 2020. Of the 13 circuits at which WorldSBK will be contested this year, the American has previous experience of just four. Gerloff has tested at Aragon, Jerez, Portimão and now Phillip Island, but at each of these tests track time has been limited due to inclement weather.

"I came into testing not knowing any of the tracks and, actually, the first test at Aragon was my first time riding in Europe, which I guess gives you an idea of just how much of this season is going to be new to me," explained the Texan.

So, as well as adapting to competing on the world stage against vastly more experienced rivals, Gerloff also has to factor into his preparations the fact that his first view of nine of the circuits at which he'll race in 2020 will come only on the traditional Thursday afternoon track walk.

"A lot of people have asked me if I've been playing video games to figure out the tracks I don't know and I have a little bit, but for me, this doesn’t work as well as watching onboard videos, whether they be from WorldSBK, MotoGP or even ones shot by a local track day rider."

"The onboards are a big help. You get to see the track, but you also see how the track surface is, the reference points that riders are using, which you don't get from a video game. It's also good that WorldSBK has all the races online from the last 20 years or so, which means I can see what reference points the guys were using in previous seasons."

Gerloff hasn't been left to learn the circuits on his own, however. The American has access to the data of the other Yamaha riders but, more importantly, he has Yamaha's rider coach, Niccolò Canepa, on hand to accelerate the learning process at each track.

"Having Niccolò on track providing a visual comparison between my lines and riding style and that of other riders has been a big advantage for me. I'm more of a visual learner, so the video comparisons that Niccolò produces speak to me more than just looking at lines on a computer. The data and the video have their uses and I'm trying to use both to the fullest advantage."

Gerloff will kick off his debut WorldSBK season aboard the GRT Yamaha R1 this weekend at Phillip Island, coincidentally one of the more difficult tracks on the calendar to master.