The American rider started Friday strongly in Portimao with two top-six finishes in two practice sessions, claiming third overall for the day
The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship could be described as a rollercoaster for American star Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) with lots of highs and lows, but Friday at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve will give Gerloff confidence his rollercoaster campaign is about to start an upward climb throughout the Motul Portuguese Round.
Gerloff was second in the opening 45-minute session after posting a 1’41.683s, one-tenth away from Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who set the fastest lap of the session. He backed this up with another top-six finish in Free Practice 2 in fifth place, four tenths back from Rea. Gerloff’s best time, his fastest from FP1, meant he was third overall for the day and the lead Yamaha rider.
Explaining his ambitions for Saturday, Gerloff said: “It was a good day; I’m really enjoying the track and the new surface that they’ve put down. It feels like there’s a lot more grip to be had especially when the track temperature is higher. I remember, last year, track temperature was really high during the races and it was so difficult to find any grip. I feel good right now, I’m excited to get going on Saturday, and see how things. Going to try to have a solid Superpole session and just want to have a good start and a good first couple of laps of the race and be there with the top guys.”
The American claimed two points finishes at the circuit last year with 14th in Race 1 and 11th in Race 2 in what was only his third round in the Championship. Now 51 races into his career, Gerloff will be hoping he can convert his strong Friday showing into another podium finish, something he has not recorded since the Tissot Superpole Race at Donington Park. Friday will be a massive confidence boost to the American star following his rapid pace and he will be looking to convert that throughout the Tissot Superpole session and Race 1 on Saturday, before two more races on Sunday.
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