You are about to leave this website. Are you sure?

I agree, take me there

GRT Yamaha’s Gerloff Goes Top Six on Friday, as Nozane Runs First Laps of Estoril

GRT Yamaha’s Gerloff Goes Top Six on Friday, as Nozane Runs First Laps of Estoril

Five days after the chequered flag flew in Aragón, the FIM Superbike World Championship returned at the Circuito do Estoril for the start of the second round of the season. The long sweeping corners of the Portuguese track tend to favour the Yamaha R1, as proven by the all-Yamaha podium here last year, and the GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team – now benefitting from the latest-spec bike are sure to be in the mix once again.

GRT Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff focused on fine-tuning the setup of his Yamaha R1 in order to fight for the top positions, as the American looks to repeat last year’s stellar performance. It was not all smooth sailing for him, though, as at the end of the first day he was not fully satisfied with the bike’s setup, despite some strong lap times. 

Kohta Nozane’s crew, instead, worked on getting him acquainted with yet another brand-new track in what is his second-ever WorldSBK weekend. After a solid first round in Aragón, the Japanese wants to keep improving, but his work plan was hampered by a big highside suffered at the end of FP2. 

In the morning session, Gerloff was eighth thanks to a 1'38.074, and he still could not feel completely comfortable with the set-up in FP2, which was affected by much higher track temperatures (43°C compared to the morning’s 31°C). He still managed to set a 1'37.826, fast enough for fourth position, demonstrating that, if tomorrow’s set-up adjustments prove to be effective, he will be in the hunt for the podium again. His lap was good enough for sixth on combined times. 

Nozane’s plan for the day was to progressively get more comfortable on the new circuit. After a 1'39.607 put him in the 18th position in the FP1, the Japanese rider was not able to improve as much as he expected in the afternoon, and a fall in Turn 13 cut his session short. He was uninjured, but the bike required extensive repairs. He therefore ended FP2 yet again in 18th place, but his 1'39.036 still represented a step in the right direction. Running more laps tomorrow will undoubtedly help him get closer to the front.

For Friday's combined times, click here.

Garrett Gerloff: P5 - 1'37.826

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

We were not bad today, but it was a bit confusing. I was expecting to have a better feeling with the bike and the track right away, but the conditions were hotter than last year, and this made it more difficult for us. We made some progress throughout the day and we are still in the top six, but both me and Les (Pearson, chief engineer) are slightly confused by the situation. We need to work on the bike some more and I have to work on myself, but this track suits the Yamaha R1 very well and, if we figure our problems out, we can head into tomorrow’s race with confidence. Our troubles were different from session to session and it is hard to pinpoint one main issue, and that’s what is confusing me. Today we ended up spending more time in the pits than I would have liked, so tomorrow we will take full advantage of the FP3 to run more laps.

Kohta Nozane: P18 - 1'39.036

GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team

Today was my absolute first time here in Estoril, so it was a big challenge. I focused on learning as much as possible since the beginning and on doing my best, but in the FP2 the conditions were much hotter and my pace did not improve, which is not what I was expecting. We tried the SCX tyre to go faster, but I made a mistake and crashed. The bike is damaged and the team is fixing it, and I feel really sorry. I really appreciate their effort to support me, and tomorrow I want to bring home the best possible result to thank them.