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GRT Yamaha and Gerloff Score Podium in Estoril Opener

GRT Yamaha and Gerloff Score Podium in Estoril Opener

On the second day of activity at the Circuito Estoril, GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team’s Garrett Gerloff rode to the third step of the FIM Superbike World Championship podium, demonstrating the vast progress made by the team throughout this year, which bodes well for 2021.

Saturday got underway with FP3, during which the GRT Yamaha crew made some set-up changes to the two riders' Yamaha R1 superbikes, and the pair ended the session with Gerloff fifth and Caricasulo 13th.

In the Superpole, Gerloff flew to his first front row with the third-fastest time, whereas some difficulties with the new tyre saw Caricasulo manage only 13th. The two would then run two very different races, with the American fending off Jonathan Rea’s Kawasaki early on to equal his best result in third, whereas his Italian teammate ended his promising comeback prematurely due to a crash.

Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSBK Supported Team’s Loris Baz had shown early promise, but a fall in the Superpole compromised his running and he lined up 12th on the Race 1 grid. The Frenchman enjoyed a good start but with overtaking proving difficult at the Portuguese circuit, Baz could finish no higher than ninth.

Wildcard rider Jonas Folger, riding for the Bonovo Action by MGM Racing team, was just outside the top 10 in qualifying and started 11th for Saturday’s opener. The German ran a solid pace throughout and crossed the line in 11th, scoring more WorldSBK points.

For full Superpole results, click here.
For full Race 1 results, click here.

Garrett Gerloff: P3

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team

I felt alright towards the end of the race, but I am still upset with myself because I made too many mistakes in the first laps, and I was definitely not riding as cleanly and consistently as I usually do. That is something that I will be thinking about ahead of Sunday’s races, and there are also a couple of things with the bike that I would like to try to improve, but all in all, I am really happy to be on the podium again. It’s funny how this podium doesn’t quite feel as amazing, especially when you feel you could have done even better. I am super happy to bring the GRT Yamaha team another podium, they have been so awesome this year, supporting me through thick and thin, and to be able to give them a little gift is super nice. I am hoping that in the next two races we can do something similar, keep trying to improve, and see where we end up. Riding among the best guys in the world is nice because I can see from up close what they are doing and try to replicate it. This has been a crazy learning year for me, I am super happy that I took the plunge and I know for a fact that I now am a better rider because of it. I feel pretty good ahead of the Superpole race, it will be earlier in the morning, so the temperatures will be a little bit lower and I feel good when it’s colder. It will be a quick race and I definitely want to keep my front row starting position for Race 2 as well, so fingers crossed and we’ll see what happens.

Federico Caricasulo: DNF

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team

In comparison to yesterday, we have taken a step forward in terms of race pace. We struggled again in qualifying with the brand new tyre, but with the race rubber, we were competitive. I started towards the back, but until the crash I had a good feeling, I could keep the pace of the group in front and I could have fought my way up to eighth position. It was a shame because unfortunately the front suddenly tucked in on a right-hand turn. We will try again on Sunday.

Loris Baz: P9

Ten Kate Yamaha WorldSBK Supported Team

As I said on Friday, a good starting position at this track is crucial. Because of a crash during Superpole we had to start from P12 on the grid. By then you know already that it will be a difficult story, especially here at Estoril. My start was quite good but then I had the same problem that we have basically had already all year. When I ride in a group or behind somebody, I cannot keep my line. I cannot keep the corner speed that I want and this causes other problems as well. I have no idea where this issue is coming from, if it is my own riding style or the set-up of the bike, but it is quite frustrating. I felt that almost all race I was faster than the guys in front of me: Lowes, Rinaldi and Haslam, but I just could not pass them. On the final lap, I made an attempt but I made a mistake which meant that Forés passed me as well. It is what it is, but we cannot be satisfied with ninth place. Tomorrow we will definitely make some changes and see if we can make things a bit easier for ourselves and score two better finishes.