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GRT Yamaha’s Gerloff Goes Third Fastest on Opening Day at Aragón

GRT Yamaha’s Gerloff Goes Third Fastest on Opening Day at Aragón

With the long winter break now over, the FIM Superbike World Championship paddock reunited on Friday at MotorLand Aragón to get the first round of the season under way. For the GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team, the first day of the weekend represented an important opportunity to test the performance of the Yamaha R1 with different grip levels.

In the cold first free practice session, things looked to be heading in the right direction, with both riders feeling competitive and satisfied with their bikes’ setup. As the temperature rose in the afternoon though, both Garrett Gerloff and Kohta Nozane were unable to extract the one-lap speed seen in the morning, whereas the long-run pace remained strong. The GRT Yamaha team remains confident, as the temperature is forecasted to be lower on Saturday.

In the morning’s FP1, Gerloff picked up where he had left off in the winter tests, and was immediately quick enough to clock in the third-fastest time, a 1’50.442. In the FP2, he struggled due to the lack of grip, but still managed to set a 1’51.238, good enough for 10th position. The 34 laps run throughout the day allowed the American and his crew to collect information and data that will be crucial for the choice of this weekend’s race setup.

Nozane, instead, focused on building over the experience made during the Aragón tests of the last months, in order to start getting closer to his teammate and the leaders. His Friday started well, with a 1’51.376 in FP1 giving him the 14th fastest time and which, more importantly, placed him a respectable 1.4 seconds behind Razgatlioglu’s chart-topping 1’49.952, closer than he managed to get to the leader throughout pre-season. In FP2, like most other riders, he did not manage to improve his lap time, and was 15th, a 1'52.238 being his fastest lap of the session. He completed 33 laps in total throughout the day.

For Friday’s combined times, click here.

Garrett Gerloff: P3 - 1’50.442

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

This track has a lot more grip when it’s cooler, as we witnessed throughout the day. The bike worked really well both in the morning and in the afternoon, but in the FP2 there was just way less grip, so it was more difficult to carry the corner speed that Yamaha is known for. We are a little bit off lap time-wise, but our race pace is actually pretty good in comparison to the other riders. Tomorrow should be cooler anyway, so it will be good for us. I am happy to be here because we finally get to go racing, and also because, even though we didn’t get the results to demonstrate it, this is the track where we really made our big step forward last year. We are working well with Les (Pearson, crew chief) and the team, and the goal for this weekend is to do my best.

Kohta Nozane: P15 - 1'51.376

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

Despite all the laps I ran here during testing, I was super nervous at the beginning of the day so it was a bit difficult to get into the right rhythm. In the morning I managed to set a good lap, and I was expecting to improve further in FP2, but unfortunately the conditions of the track and the temperatures didn’t allow me to do that. Still, I learned a lot today, and that is very positive. I will try to do the best that I can in the Superpole and races on Saturday and Sunday.