Gerloff Storms Through the Field, Nozane Scores Points in Saturday’s Race at Misano
GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team’s Garrett Gerloff and Kohta Nozane scored important FIM Superbike World Championship points in Race 1 at Misano, with the American storming through to 12th from the pit lane, while his Japanese teammate battled hard to a 13th place result.
After a solid sixth place (1’34.705) in the red-flagged Free Practice 3, Gerloff fell on his first lap during the Tissot Superpole and could not rejoin the session. As a consequence, he will be starting last in tomorrow morning’s Superpole Race and will need to make yet another comeback.
The Texan’s day eventually ended on a positive note, as he was able to make his way through the field after starting Race 1 from the pit lane. He took the chequered flag in 12th place and set his personal best lap time – a 1’35.623 – on the final lap, showing that his race pace is consistent even with high temperatures.
Kohta Nozane, instead, enjoyed a much smoother day on track and continued making steady progress. He was 14th in the morning’s free practice session (1’35.323) and later qualified in the same position thanks to an improved 1’34.677.
The 25-year-old then battled with HRC Honda’s Leon Haslam for much of the afternoon’s race and eventually got the best of the British rider, crossing the finish line in 13th. Tomorrow, Nozane hopes to improve further, but he will have to do so despite being demoted six positions on the starting grid of the Superpole Race for a red flag infringement during FP3.
After the second day of on-track action at Misano, Gerloff lies seventh in the championship standings with 46 points, whereas his teammate is 16th with 14. On Sunday, the action will resume at 09:00 with the Warm-Up, while the Superpole Race follows at 11:00 and Race 2 at 14:00, local time (CEST).
Garrett Gerloff: P12
“The race was definitely better than qualifying. My Superpole session was indeed quite bad as I crashed and wasn’t able to continue before even setting a lap time. Anyway, it was good to switch into race mode and, even though I had to start from pit lane, it was good to complete all the laps and collect a lot of information for tomorrow. We will use this data to try to set up the bike a bit better. Overall, I am happy that I could keep it on two wheels, make some passes and collect some points, but I am definitely looking for more. I am ready for tomorrow.”
Kohta Nozane: P13
“In the Superpole I could improve my fastest time. I wanted to go even faster but I just couldn’t. The final result is decent, but I feel more and more confident with my riding, with the new bike and with the team compared to the previous races in Aragón and Estoril. In the early stages of the race I could battle with Michael (Van der Mark) but towards the end I dropped back and couldn’t keep up with him. On the other hand, though, I could fight with Haslam – he would overtake me but I could always pass him back. This was a great step forward for me and it is the biggest positive I take away from today. Tomorrow there will be two more races: I will try to aim higher and do my best.”