Gerloff for Morbido & continuation of the calendar chaos
When Garrett Gerloff made a short guest appearance in Valencia on a Valentino Rossi MotoGP Yamaha M1 last year, many experts and amateurs were amazed. On a route that was completely new to him, on top of that it was damp and on a bike he did not know, the Texan immediately drove faster than Mir, Crutchlow and Quartararo. But then the old master came back on Saturday, and that’s why the US boy stayed one day. Now instead of Yamaha test rider, Cal Crutchlow has the chance to represent Frankie Morbidelli’s Yamaha for a whole weekend. The Italian had injured his already bruised knee in training on Tuesday. That is why Gerloff will drive as a replacement in Assen. There is also interesting news about the “chaos planning” by FIM and Dorna, where the next change to the calendar, which was originally designed to be completely unreal despite the pandemic, has already been communicated.
Garrett Gerloff: „I am looking forward to the opportunity this presents to me. Basically, I’m not someone to run away from a challenge, so I’m ready to hit the track. It’s going to be a new track for me, I like to try new tracks, it looks fun. Assen is fast and fluent and really suits my riding style. I’m looking forward to jumping back on the Yamaha M1 and turning the gas. We’ll see how it goes, but I feel good, and I want to thank Yamaha and the team for considering me. It won’t be easy, but I’ll do my best.“
Which is why (supposedly) Garrett and not Toprak comes into play
The Texan is currently sixth in the drivers’ standings in the Superbike World Championship, after a podium and two top five results. Allegedly, according to Yamaha, Toprak Razgatlıoğlu, currently second in the World Cup, was also in the race to replace Morbido in Assen. However, not everyone believes the official rationale that he declined the opportunity to focus on his main goal in 2021 and fight for the WSBK crown. Like Gerloff, the Turk will compete in Donington Park from July 2-4 for the fourth round of the World Cup. Because a lot revolves around money and publicity at the manufacturer and also at Dorna, the obligation of an American to replace it should be much more effective in advertising. See also below an interesting aspect about the new calendar and the new date for the Texas Grand Prix, of all places, in the home of Garrett.
Gerloff’s previous successes
After winning two MotoAmerica Supersport championship titles in 2016 and 2017, Gerloff demonstrated his potential with a third place in the 2019 MotoAmerica Superbike championship. The 25-year-old was then promoted to the GRT Yamaha team in WorldSBK, where he was able to impress too early. In the second half of the season as a rookie, he made his first podium places in Barcelona and Estoril. The next podium followed at the season opener in Motorland Aragon, and he has been an established top rider in the Superbike World Championship since 2021 at the latest. While BMW with the new M-1000RR and now even four top drivers repeatedly showed difficulties to play at the very front, the Texan is now always good for top positions. Garrett’s only handicap is that he is currently still somewhat susceptible to falls.
The next calendar tinkering from FIM and Dorna
As was to be expected, the Japanese Grand Prix in Motegi has now also been cancelled. For this purpose, an appointment was made with the Texas GP in Austin and thus Garrett Gerloff’s home, of all places. That fits like a fist in the eye when it comes to its use as a Morbido substitute in Assen. While many poorly informed portals speculated prematurely about the cancellation of Buriram and Sepang, these events remained in the calendar for the time being. Only the date of the GP of Thailand was postponed by a week. Nevertheless, scepticism about overseas events is certainly appropriate. This is why we have listed the most questionable dates on the combined calendar in italics. The number of date collisions with the WorldSBK can be clearly seen in our combined calendar, where the critical MotoGP events are marked in red. In this way, Dorna and FIM cannibalize the interests of the near-series World Cup and thereby also damage the sponsors of teams and drivers.
Unless otherwise stated, this applies to all images (© MotoGP).