The long winter period may be in full swing but there is still time to look back at the 2023 WorldSBK Championship season as BSN brings you our rundown of the Top 10 WorldSBK Riders of the Year.
In eighth we find BMW new boy Garrett Gerloff
|Bonovo Action Racing
|BMW M 1000 RR
|4th [Rd. 9 Magny-Cours, Rd. 11 Portimao x2]
As one of the few WorldSBK riders to switch manufacturers ahead of the 2023 WorldSBK season, it’s fair to say Garrett Gerloff’s move from Yamaha to BMW had been met with, at best, genuine curiosity, at worst, blunt pessimism.
Indeed, having lurched between bursts of podium-fighting pace and protracted slumps in form during three checkered seasons in WorldSBK with Yamaha, many questioned whether BMW would be a good fit for the American to reboot his fortunes.
And yet, against the grain of BMW’s reputation as a challenging career move - just ask Scott Redding and Loris Baz - Gerloff ended his first campaign on the satellite Bonovo Action BMW M 1000 RR with a run of some of his strongest results yet.
Indeed, despite some tricky opening rounds as he found his groove, Gerloff’s pace was at least on a par with team-mate Baz and factory ROKiT stablemates Redding and Michael van der Mark from the off, even if the M 1000 RR package itself still noticeably lagged behind its main rivals.
As the bike came on stronger, so did Gerloff’s confidence, to the extent he was comfortably punching above his weight during the final few rounds as BMW’s most competitive prospect.
It led to him landing a surprise pole position in Magny-Cours, which in turn kick-started a run of strong form that included four top five finishes during the lattermost four events.
It culminated in lifting him to 12th in the final standings, which though unremarkable on paper, at least cemented his status as top BMW rider among high-quality internal competition.
BSN’s Top 10 WorldSBK Riders of 2023
10 - Alex Lowes