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GRT Yamaha in Top Three on Opening Day at Portimão

GRT Yamaha in Top Three on Opening Day at Portimão

The final round of the European leg of the FIM Superbike World Championship began today with two Free Practice sessions at the circuit of Portimão. For the GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team, Garrett Gerloff enjoyed one of his best days to date, going third on combined times, as 2021 rookie teammate Kohta Nozane got to grips with the fast, flowing and undulating Portuguese circuit.

As he often does, Gerloff was quick to get up to speed and, at the end of FP1, he posted two times good enough for second-fastest, He particularly liked the high grip offered by the track in the heat of the afternoon, and in FP2 he was competitive again, ending the session in fifth position. He was the fastest of the independent riders in both sessions of the day, running a total of 34 laps. 

On the other side of the GRT Yamaha garage, Portimão is yet another brand new track for Nozane, who used Friday’s two sessions to run laps and collect as much experience and data as possible. At his first ever approach to the Portuguese track, he managed to set the 18th fastest time in the morning session, improving in the afternoon, while maintaining the same 18th position. He ran a total of 40 laps throughout the day.

Garrett Gerloff: P3 - 1'41.683

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

It was a good day. I am really enjoying the track and the new surface they put down, as there is a lot more grip especially with high temperatures. Last year it was very hot during all the races, which made it very difficult to find grip. But this time, the Yamaha R1 feels good. I thought that, thanks to the new surface, there would be less bumps, but the track feels as bumpy as before to be honest. At least, there is more grip when you hit the bumps, and the bike is not as affected by them as before, which is positive. I feel good, and the goal is to have a solid qualifying session and a good start in both races in order to stay close to the top guys. I ran laps both on the Pirelli SC0 tyre and on the 415 tyre, they feel very similar and I believe that the difference between them will only show in the last laps.

Kohta Nozane: P18 - 1'43.937

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

It was my first time at Portimão. It is very much an up and down track and it was not an easy day. I could improve my pace a little bit lap by lap, but the gap from the leaders is too big to be satisfied. I managed to understand the track a little more thanks to the long runs we did, but tomorrow we must make a big improvement.