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GRT Yamaha Riders Focus on Race Pace in Opening Day from Portimão

GRT Yamaha Riders Focus on Race Pace in Opening Day from Portimão

The first day of activity at Portimão saw the two GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team riders concentrate on their race pace, as both Garrett Gerloff and Federico Caricasulo aim to close on the front-runners and score valuable FIM Superbike World Championship points in the race.

GRT Yamaha’s 2020 rookies started the day off with an 11th place for Gerloff and 15th for Caricasulo in the cooler first free practice session. They backed it up with a similar performance in the afternoon, as Gerloff put in the 12th fastest time while Caricasulo was 16th. 

The team focused on improving its long-run performance to simulate this weekend’s race conditions. Both sides of the garage still have some work to do and changes to make tomorrow, but remain confident that they will be better prepared for the 30-minute races.

Riding the wave of two strong performances in the last round in Spain, Gerloff remains confident after the Friday at Portimão and aims to improve further. Teammate Caricasulo may not have troubled the top 10, but wasn’t focusing on one-lap pace.

The GRT Yamaha riders will be back on track tomorrow morning for FP3, which will take place at 09:00 (GMT+1). The Superpole and Race 1 will follow, at 11:00 and 14:00 respectively.

Garrett Gerloff: P13 – 1'43.570

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team

It was a pretty solid first day, we worked really hard on trying to set the bike up for the race pace, which is something we did not focus on as much in Jerez, but that I believe will work better for us moving forward. We used the same setup as last weekend during the first session, and we made radical changes for FP2, to understand in which way we want to go for the remainder of the weekend, and to find out what works and what does not. We got some good information, so we will try to find a compromise for tomorrow. Fingers crossed that this approach pays off and we find more speed to be closer to the front, but I felt quite good on the bike on Firday, so I am confident.

Federico Caricasulo: P17 - 1'43.992

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team

On Friday, unlike in Jerez, we worked a lot to improve over the long distance, instead of just on the single lap. We always ran with a full tank to understand the behaviour of the bike with a full load of fuel, which was what we struggled the most with at the last round, as we always showed good promise when looking at the single lap, but we could not make it happen during the races. We still have to improve a little bit, especially under braking, but we are satisfied with the work done for the race. Tomorrow we will try out a couple of other small things, and then switch our focus towards having a solid qualifying, because I want to start from a good position and have a consistent Race 1.

Damiano Evangelisti - Technical Coordinator

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team

Our main task on Friday was to adapt the data collected here during the winter tests to the warmer conditions of the summer, which provides less grip, in order to find the right setup for the race. Long runs were the name of the game, especially in the afternoon session, to try to foresee what will happen come race time. Garrett found a better setup from the start, when compared to Federico, but the gap from the front runners is still a little too large, so we need to work hard. Tomorrow, we must reduce this gap, both when it comes to race pace, and on the single lap. We believe to have identified the issues we need to solve, and we are confident. As usual, we aim to finish in the top 10. With Garrett, who comes from a solid result in Spain, we will also try to reduce the final gap in seconds from the leader, compared to Jerez. This represents another of the goals we want to achieve by the end of the season: being progressively closer to the front runners at the end of the race. As for Federico, who was disappointed by the last race weekend, we aim to rebuild his confidence, and we just want to have a good, smooth race, to use as a stepping stone to keep improving on Sunday.