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MotoGP Assen: ‘The GP bike can get pretty violent!’ sub Gerloff explains

Garrett Gerloff completed his first day on a Petronas Yamaha in a positive mood despite a morning crash and afternoon rain impeding his progress from the back of the Dutch GP standings. 

“It's a learning process,” the American admitted after his first experience of the M1 in dry conditions, standing in for Franky Morbidelli. 

“For sure, when I ride the bike in the full dry it definitely feels different to the last time I rode the GP bike at Valencia - when it was wet and then half wet/half dry. I'm just trying to get used to the feeling of the bike and learn the track the best that I can, the quickest that I can. It’s a little bit tough but I’m having fun, and just trying to keep improving, keep going up.


“I definitely feel better in the wet conditions with the GP bike - just because it makes the whole bike a little bit softer, a little bit less rigid, and so it just feels a little bit more natural and more normal for me. In the dry, the bike is so stiff, it's so rigid, like the chassis doesn't move and it can be a little bit violent sometimes, shaking and being nervous. So that was one of the difficulties for today. If it's wet I feel a little bit more confident, I just have a good feeling in the wet in general.”

Having experienced his first dry session crash during the morning’s FP1, Gerloff regrouped and went back out for a third run, completing a further five laps.

“The crash, basically, was just because I was learning the track a little bit, and I felt like I was going a little bit hot into turn seven. I was just trailing the brake a little bit longer than I had been, and it just kind of did that. It was just a little bit frustrating because, obviously, I don't want to go down but anyway, I learned and it's all good.”

Reflecting on his first touch of a GP machine - back at Valencia 2020 when he substituted for his, now teammate, Valentino Rossi, in the factory Yamaha team during Friday practice - Gerloff explained the differences after experiencing both a dry session and an impressive start to his second WorldSBK season. 

“The GP bike feels completely different now, just with how rigid the chassis is. It feels pretty aggressive, where the last time I rode it, was mainly with wet settings and wet tyres, and so the feeling was a little bit more like a Superbike. I didn't think the big difference was that big but then now, having the full dry setting and everything, the difference is quite a bit, especially when you hit bumps. With the GP bike you notice the bumps a lot more and you get a lot more of a reaction from the bike. It doesn't make it harder to adapt to it, from riding the Superbike, but it's just the feeling is completely different from anything that I've ever ridden.

“On the Superbike we use so much brake pressure with the steel. Here in GP, it's not required to use so much brake pressure to have really incredible stopping so it's made it a little bit difficult to figure out the trail braking situation. That's something I need to do a little bit better tomorrow for sure. 

“If we can get some more dry laps that would be ideal. I just need to work on riding the bike a bit different. I've been looking at data and things and I guess in some of the faster sections, where I've had the biggest issue, I'm just not loading the bike enough. When the bike isn't loaded all the way, it just kind of reacts to every little imperfection in the track and it starts to get pretty violent, so it's really hard to carry the momentum. If we can get some more dry laps and I can try to work on that, that would be good but it's hard to build up to it because there's no middle ground. It's like you either do it or you don't do it, but to commit to it you've definitely got to have big balls so I've got to work on that tomorrow!” he finished, laughing. 

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