Gerloff thanks "inspiration" Nicky Hayden after first WorldSBK podium

Thursday, 24 September 2020 07:11 GMT

American rookie Garrett Gerloff secured his maiden podium at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with a stunning ride in Race 2

Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) became the tenth different rider to stand on a MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship podium in 2020 when he secured third in Race 2 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the inaugural Acerbis Catalunya Round with Gerloff becoming the first American since the late, great Nicky Hayden to stand on a WorldSBK podium.

Gerloff showed his pace on Friday when he finished third in Free Practice 1 but was unable to translate this into a strong starting position in Tissot Superpole; qualifying in 15th place for Race 1 and gaining a place for the Tissot Superpole Race when Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) was declared unfit. The Texan was able to show strong race pace, as he has done throughout 2020, to secure a top eight finish in Race 1 and fifth in the Superpole Race; giving him a high starting position for Race 2.

The 25-year-old took advantage of this, quickly moving up into the podium places and staying there for the whole race, including a pass on Michael van der Mark (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team) for second on the final lap. A mistake at Turn 10 allowed the Dutchman back through but Gerloff still finished in third place, securing his best WorldSBK career so far.

When asked about being the first American rider to stand on the podium since Hayden, Gerloff said: “I was thinking about that on the podium. Nicky was such a cool guy; I was pretty close to him. I was closer to Roger, his brother, and some of the other Kentucky boys around Owensboro but I was able to train with Nicky a few times and it was just so inspirational for me to see how hard Nicky pushed but also how involved he was with his family and just how humble he was. He was just another guy. He wasn’t Nicky Hayden, MotoGP™ World Champion. He was Nicky Hayden from Owensboro, Kentucky. He’d just sit down and talk to you, he inspired me a tonne.

“He was one of the big reasons, along with Ben Spies and other great American riders, that have gone to a World Championship and done well, he was one of the guys that just really inspired me to not be content; to keep pushing myself and you never know how far you might go. I owe him a big one! For him to do it and win the World Championship in MotoGP™ in 2006, that was something I felt right in the heart and that’s been pushing me for a long time. That’s a pretty amazing thing to follow. I just hope I can be 1/100th of the guy he was.”

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