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Gerloff Tops Opening Day on Donington Park Debut

Gerloff Tops Opening Day on Donington Park Debut

After being left out of the schedule in the pandemic-marred 2020 season, the UK round of the FIM Superbike World Championship is back this weekend at the Donington Park circuit. Despite having never ridden at the legendary British venue, GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team’s Garrett Gerloff ended Friday fastest on combined times.

It was a stellar day for Gerloff, who was riding the wave of his very positive first race on a Yamaha M1 in the MotoGP round at Assen last weekend. The American used Free Practice 1 to introduce himself to the track and ended the session in fifth place with a 1'28.681. By the time the afternoon session came around, Gerloff was already well acquainted to the circuit, and the 25-year-old topped the timings thanks to a 1'27.524, which was good enough for 0.317s quicker than his nearest challenger.

Overall though, it was a bittersweet day for the GRT Yamaha team, with Kohta Nozane electing to withdraw from the weekend following a distal phalanx fracture on his middle finger (right hand) sustained at the Navarra test. The Japanese rider ran four laps in FP1, but was concerned about his and the other riders' safety due to the nature of his injury.

For Friday's combined times, click here.

Garrett Gerloff: P1 – 1’27.524

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

It’s funny to say, but I get a lot of US vibes here. Everyone speaks English, and this track reminds me of Road Atlanta, Virginia International Raceway, and Pittsburgh back at home. Today was good and I look forward to the rest of the weekend. I already feel like I have a really good bike, and the Yamaha R1 has historically always been fast around here, just like on most circuits. It’s nice to know that Les (Pearson, Chief Engineer) always has everything already planned and under control. Whenever I need any information, he already has everything ready. With me focused on learning the track, it is nice to know that he has all the adjustments set to go depending on my comments. I feel really good on the bike, so I just want to get through qualifying and go racing now. I was surprised at how little grip the track had in the heat of the afternoon and my first run during FP2 was all over the place, but it seems like it might rain both tomorrow and Sunday anyway. We have a good bike either way, we will see how it goes.