Former WorldSBK champion Ben Spies believes fellow American Garrett Gerloff has the potential to win a world title in the future. 

Gerloff, who had a brilliant rookie 2020 season - scored three podiums - somewhat regressed in 2021 following a series of early season incidents with other riders. 

None were bigger than his coming together with eventual world champion and fellow Yamaha rider Toprak Razgatlioglu at Assen. 

The GRT rider caused Razgatlioglu to crash after riding into the Turkish rider at turn one, which began several rounds where Gerloff struggled making overtakes at the start of races and instead looked void of any confidence. 

It’s something that's led to ‘frustration’ for one of his biggest fans in Spies: "I feel frustration, and I say that 100% on Garrett’s side," added Spies when talking to the official World Superbike website. 

"I feel bad because yes, he made some mistakes at the beginning of the year and caused a little bit of commotion and some people were upset, which was understandable. 

"I think he got a bit nervous and had to go a couple of weekends without making mistakes, as well as other things happening that didn’t need to happen that made him ride even more cautiously and that annoys me too."

But despite the 26 year-old’s mistakes, the potential Gerloff has shown over the last two years in WorldSBK has been good enough to warrant MotoGP call-ups as he replaced Valentino Rossi (Covid-19) for one day at the 2020 Valencia Grand Prix, and also Franco Morbidelli (injury) in Assen earlier this year.

Spies believes Gerloff’s ‘potential’ is enough to win a WorldSBK title if things ‘happen the right way’. 

Spies added: "I see the potential in Garrett and I do see that if things happen the right way, he can win a WorldSBK title. 

"He possesses that talent without a doubt, he just needs that circle around him like Toprak and Jonny [Rea] have. 

"It won’t come completely in 2022; he doesn’t have a Kenan [Sofuoglu] there like Toprak does, and that will make a difference, in terms of bouncing ideas off of each other. 

"I hope that next year, he rides on his real confidence and does great things, and everything works well in the team, so he’s able to start building his own team around him. When it comes to talent and race craft, I know he’s got it."