A picture from happier Yamaha days in 2020 with from left Garrett Gerloff, Toprak Razgatlioglu a team member, Federico Caricasulo and Michael van der Mark in mutual exchange. As a rule, the taciturn Turkish is usually short, also because his English is still limited to a few words.

A lance for Garrett Gerloff – the alleged scapegoat from the 2nd Assen run

It was astonishing for us how quickly after Toprak Razgatlioglu’s fall, the commentators did not identify the person who had fallen, but his brand colleagues as the culprit. On the other hand, we had the impression that Toprak had chosen a somewhat pointed line in the curve, braking from outside Turn 1. Admittedly, his front wheel was a tad further ahead than Gerloff’s. But anyone who has ever braked a curve at the limit knows the feeling and what happens in such a tiny, short moment. There is no time for long deliberations within a few hundredths of a second; the rider, like all his opponents, tries to keep his nose as far ahead as possible in the first corner.

The moment when the waves rose in the pits and commentary booths – very far in the front Garrett Gerloff and his Yamaha brand colleague Toprak, who fell after a contact between the two, who lost control of his bike.

Denouncing guilt after a crash is a common response – like Sykes in France
Similar to Assen this season, Gerloff’s first race in Magny-Cours was already in 2020, and he was even on a closer line than Jonathan Rea, who was ahead of him at the top. Nevertheless, the American was later portrayed as guilty by numerous media, especially Tom Sykes and BMW, when the man from Huddersfield touched him from outside and flew off. Even his teammate Eugene Laverty cleared away, who then not wrongly saw the blame on Sykes alone. In order not to appear as a fool himself after losing control of his Yamaha after contact with the Texan, Toprak chose an effective remedy and immediately accused Gerloff. This time the race management agreed with him, but not in Magny-Cours in a very similar incident, which left BMW and numerous clerks in Nevers stupid.

Turn one on the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours with Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) in front, behind on a very tight line Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha) and Tom Sykes who has just fallen after touching him and who will immediately clear away his teammate Eugene Laverty . Despite the fact that BMW and many hasty clerks then blamed the Texan for this, the race management saw it differently and saw it as a normal racing accident. In 2020, we stood exactly in such a way that we saw it exactly like the Commissioners and even with our own eyes. For us, Sykes was the only one to blame for the double loss with the Northern Irishman.

The incident in the first race of Portugal in 2019

In 2019 there was even a very similar situation as in the second race in Assen. Between the two Aruba.it Ducati teammates Chaz Davies and Alvaro Bautista there was the normal competition that is common in racing. In principle, everyone should beat their own teammate first. At the start of the 2019 season, however, the little Spaniard put down a series that the Welshman lost hearing and seeing. With the tailor-made MotoGP replica Ducati Panigale V4R, the MotoGP switch won the first eleven races of the year, leaving not only Davies behind, but also the reigning world champion Jonathan Rea. On the ageing Kawasaki ZX-10RR, he didn’t have the slightest chance against Bautista in acceleration and top speed. The Northern Irishman was only able to fight back from the Imola drivers’ track, and Davies also defeated his team-mate for the first time at the Autodromo Dino e Enzo Ferrari. The dangerous course was absolutely new to him, but he held up bravely. But then Alvaro fell for the first time and when it was time for Portugal, the team-internal almost disaster occurred in the first race.

The approach to the first corner in the first race in Portimão in September 2019 with Michael van der Mark, Alex Lowes (both Yamaha), Alvaro Bautista and behind them his team-mate Chaz Davies in the centre of the picture. Four drivers headed for turn 1 side by side.
In the first corner, a fraction of a second later, there was no more room for Bautista, also because he was pushed outwards by the Welshman. The Spaniard had to “open up” and almost shot down Alex Lowes, who was driving outside in front of him, and of course also missed the curve. Chaz Davies was not punished for his reckless behaviour (as Toprak called it in Assen at Gerloff).
A picture from earlier years that definitely proves how tough Chaz Davies was, especially in a fight with his long-time arch rival Jonathan Rea. The clash of Gerloff with the Toprak coming from outside in Assen 2021 seems harmless in comparison and, above all, more coincidental than what you see here.

An interesting example of a hasty and too harsh judgment

There is a punch line to the alleged misconduct of Garrett Gerloff in the second race of Assen, which was only heard by those who watched the race on Servus TV or later viewed the archive. For the station belonging to the Red Bull Group, Sandro Cortese, who retired as a driver, was hired as a co-commentator for the 2021 season. He of all people immediately condemned the Texan in the strongest terms after the Toprak incident. At least we were astonished by this hasty and harsh judgment. It was not by chance that we were in Phillip Island (Australia) when Gerloff contested his first WorldSBK weekend. However, the US boy was missing on Sunday because he was in the hospital for an examination after a crash. This was due to the Kawasaki rider Cortese, who raced with the number 11 at the time, who wanted to push into a non-existent gap. That didn’t happen in the race, but in the warm-up on Sunday morning, which was about absolutely nothing.

The involuntary fall of Garrett Gerloff, whom Sandro Cortese had previously driven into the racing line, after which the Texan had no chance after he collided with the German and fell violently. The man with the number 31 was then flown to the hospital by helicopter and missed the two races on Sunday. That Cortese then admitted his guilt for this incident was of no use to him.

The collision at Assen was definitely unintentional
The incident with Razgatlioglu in Assen, on the other hand, was about the lead in the race, and it was definitely not the intention of the American to torpedo his brand colleague, which can also be seen in the recording of the incident. He even turned around after that and looked at the Turk, which cost him several positions afterwards. It was neither more brutal nor worse than what Davies did in Portugal in 2019 and yet, unlike back then, Gerloff was even deprived of any chance for a good placement by the race management with a drive-through penalty. He had the best pace of any rider in the race before his fall while chasing back, and had been good for a podium. That is why we advocate not judging him too harshly. This is also because Tom Sykes in Aragon 2020, for example, Leandro Mercado drove completely ruthlessly into the line after the so-called “Cork-Screw”, which caused the Argentine to fall badly and break bones. The Argentine was injured for some time afterwards. But Sykes was not even punished for his offence by the commissioners at the time.

Unless otherwise mentioned, applies to all images (© WorldSBK).