Gerloff Battles to Sixth in Challenging Race 1 Conditions at Phillip Island
GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team’s Garrett Gerloff enjoyed a strong flag-to-flag race, his first-ever since joining the FIM Superbike World Championship paddock, to take a sixth-place result and the Top Independent Rider spot.
The day started with a wet Free Practice 3 session, but once the Tissot Superpole got underway the track had dried, and Gerloff produced a strong flying lap to line-up sixth (1’30.727).
Afterwards, the rain returned ahead of Race 1 but just as they were getting ready to head out to the grid, the sun began to shine. With the track still wet, almost everyone opted for the full rain tyres, including GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team’s riders.
Gerloff enjoyed a decent start to retain his position, looking to find more pace on wet asphalt. However, with track conditions quickly changing, the American dived into the pits on lap 10, switching to slick tyres.
After rejoining in ninth, the 27-year-old was making quick progress, firstly pulling off a move on Honda’s Xavi Vierge for seventh, then bridging the nine-second gap to Motocorsa Ducati’s Axel Bassani. With three laps to go, the Texan got through for sixth, producing the second fastest time in the meantime.
On the other side of the box, Kohta Nozane was eager to show his skills in tricky conditions. The Japanese ace had qualified in 19th but was confident about making progress through the field. However, the #3 rider was unfortunately forced to DNF due to a technical problem.
Both riders will be back in action tomorrow for their final two races with the team, with the Superpole Race set to start at 13:00 (GMT+11) and Race 2 at 16:00.
Garrett Gerloff: P6
“It was definitely a fun race. The feeling in the wet wasn’t too great but it wasn’t that bad either, but once I came out on dry compounds the feeling was really good despite the fact that we were using wet settings. I didn’t expect it to be honest, and it’s probably helped us a lot for tomorrow. Let’s hope for no rain on Sunday!”
Kohta Nozane: DNF
“I feel disappointed with what happened, but that’s racing and we have to deal with it. Our qualifying wasn’t too bad and we kept improving, even though we knew we needed more. Right now, it’s all about Investigating what issue affected us and make everything work for tomorrow to have a proper finale.”