Gerloff Finishes Fourth with Nozane in the Points in Race 1 from Estoril
GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team’s Garrett Gerloff recovered after dropping down initially in FIM Superbike World Championship’s opening race from Estoril to finish an impressive fourth, while teammate Kohta Nozane was in the points once again.
The morning’s free practice session proved to be crucial for the GRT Yamaha duo, as both managed to improve their lap times and feeling with the Yamaha R1 thanks to the adjustments made overnight. In the following Superpole session, their performance was similar to the one seen in FP3, with Gerloff promoted to fourth following penalties ahead, while Nozane was 16th.
Despite a good start to Race 1, Gerloff lost several positions in the battle of the first few corners. Now no longer in touch with the leading group, the American switched into attack mode and did what we have often seen him do, passing several riders on his way to fourth at the finish.
For Nozane, he fought with many experienced opponents, including BMW’s Tom Sykes and Honda’s Leon Haslam, eventually crossing the line in 15th. This single point scored in the race is more valuable than it might seem at first sight, as the Japanese had to slow down during the final laps due to technical problems after showing a solid pace in the earlier stages.
Garrett Gerloff: P4
“I had an excellent start in the race, but then, when braking into Turn 1, a rider got to my inside and I had to pick the bike back up and go wide. Four or five people ended up passing me, which was frustrating because I just wanted to have a clean first lap so that I could settle in and run a smooth race. It was a bad way to start, but then I put my head down and did the best I could to finish in the best possible position. We had a good pace, I made a couple mistakes here and there but still finished fourth and as the top independent rider. Not bad, but I definitely wanted to stand on the podium today. We will give it another go tomorrow.”
Kohta Nozane: P15
“I’m really appreciative for the team for all their efforts and hard work to get my Yamaha R1 WorldSBK ready for today. Today, in the last three laps my pace dropped because of a small problem, but I believe the team will be able to solve it and I will be better tomorrow. Today, the pace at the start was good, even if the overall result wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I had confidence in my riding, there’s a big gap to the top but tomorrow I’m sure of improving and fighting further forwards.”