Gerloff ‘disappointed about Saturday, felt great on Sunday’, "need to fix" starts for Donington

Tuesday, 6 June 2023 06:34 GMT

It was a rollercoaster weekend for American star Garrett Gerloff, but he once again finished the weekend as the top BMW rider

It was a weekend of mixed fortunes for Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW) as the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship headed to the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” for the Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round. American star Gerloff ended the weekend as the top BMW in Race 2 on Sunday but this came off the back of a difficult Saturday where he crashed in Free Practice 3 and red flags interrupted his, and several other riders’, Tissot Superpole Efforts.

Gerloff showed strong pace on Friday as he took sixth place in the combined classification, around eight tenths slower than pacesetter Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) but he was unable to convert this into a strong Tissot Superpole result on Saturday. A crash in FP3 meant he completed only two laps on Saturday morning, before his Superpole session was interrupted by red flags just as he was about to start his second run on the SCQ tyre. In Race 1, he scored points with 13th place and was the second BMW rider in the classification with Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) two places ahead.

Speaking about Saturday after Sunday’s action, Gerloff said: “I’m just so disappointed about Saturday because I had a crash in the first two laps of FP3 and I missed all of FP3. I had to start the Superpole session basically fresh. I felt okay, the lap time wasn’t so bad with the first tyre, but it wasn’t great. I did four laps with the Q tyre, so I stopped late to change the tyre. When I exited the pits with my second tyre, the red flag came out. I wasn’t able to use my second tyre and I started from 14th. Race 1 was long. The setting wasn’t great, I was fighting the bike a lot. It was like a wrestling match for 19 laps in the end.”

Sunday proved to be Gerloff’s strongest day of the Emilia-Romagna Round even if he did benefit from incidents ahead of him in the shortened Tissot Superpole Race. He was running in 11th place when Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team) and Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) collided, promoting the American into ninth and a third-row grid start for Race 2. From here, despite a bad start, he was able to claim eighth place to finish as the top BMW rider and, for the second consecutive round, score more points than any other BMW rider.

Reflecting on a better Sunday, Gerloff added: “On Sunday, we were able to find a really good setting in the morning. I had a good Warm Up and felt great. I felt really good in the Superpole Race. Unfortunately for Petrucci and Lecuona, they came together, but that was a little bit of good luck for me because that’s what I needed to get to ninth place. It was really nice to start on the third row for Race 2. We’re just struggling with starts it seems. I have good starts in practice when I don’t wait so long but, when we have to wait, something’s getting too hot and I don’t have great clutch feeling basically. We need to fix that for Donington but that was the main reason I got a terrible start in Race 2 and lost some positions. I was able to make those positions back and I felt like the pace was really good in the second half of the race, I was doing my best to catch Oettl and Petrucci and Locatelli in front of me. I was able to do that but when I caught them, I was pushing the front everywhere and losing the front. In the end, I was able to get Philipp and a top then for the team, I’m happy we could do that. It’s been tough but it’s what the team wants, and it feels good to do that.”

Expanding on the issues with his starts, Gerloff added: “We’re working really hard and we’re finding good settings with the bike. We just need to keep doing this. I see the gap getting smaller and smaller and if we can just get a good start and figure out the problem with my clutch feeling, that can really change a lot in the race.”

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