Garrett Gerloff says he will set a target of becoming the top represented Yamaha rider in the 2021 WorldSBK Championship after earning an upgrade to factory-spec machinery on the back of an impressive rookie campaign

Making his international debut this season with the GRT ‘Junior’ Yamaha feeder team having switched from the MotoAmerica superbike series, Gerloff demonstrated a strong trajectory in performance as he got to grips with the new tracks and Pirelli rubber.

Culminating in a headline-grabbing end to the year that yielded three podiums during the final three events, Gerloff was rewarded with not only a new deal within the Italian GRT set up but also a switch to a factory-prepared Yamaha R1.

Throwing his leg over the 2021-spec machine in Jerez this week - after getting a surprise MotoGP debut during free practice in Valencia replacing Valentino Rossi - Gerloff was impressed with his first contact as he set the fourth best time, eight tenths off Jonathan Rea’s benchmark.

“The first impressions are pretty good, all the small stuff in the end but it’s the small stuff that adds up and makes the difference. 

“At the very least we have so much information about what I feel is good and it is nice to have an ‘apples to apples’ comparison, whereas during the season it is hard to do that. I feel really good on both bikes (2020 and 2021) so it was a positive day, that is the best I have done at this track.

With experience under his belt, Gerloff says it is his aim to strive for top Yamaha status, even if that means fighting for the championship.

“I can’t wait for next year. I definitely want to try and be the best Yamaha and if that means fighting for the championship then I want to fight for it. I will focus one day at a time and if we do that and remain focused then we will get to the end of the year in a good spot.”

 

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