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WorldSBK Magny-Cours: Laverty, Sykes angry after Gerloff crash

Garrett Gerloff made a different kind of headline in WorldSBK race one at Magny Cours compared to those that followed his recent podium ride at Barcelona. Or his amazing pace at the wet Magny Cours on his first visit, which underlined the progress he has made of late in his rookie WorldSBK year.

A clash between Gerloff and second fastest qualifier Tom Sykes saw the former champion fall in the drenched first corner, and his crashing bike took out his own team-mate – and pole sitter – Eugene Laverty for a double S1000RR no score for a duo that had made a small bit of history with their first and second grid places earlier in the day.

Gerloff pleaded innocence, Sykes and Laverty saw it differently, but it was to be a literally pointless first race for all of them as Gerloff was to crash out after losing the rear as he exited turn seven on lap eight.


Said Gerloff of the early incident, “I had a really good start and I was closing in on everybody that was in front of me. I saw the inside line – and they also braked earlier than me – and I went inside to the kerb and then for all I saw was Jonathan and myself, nobody else.

"Then I felt some pressure on my boot and then it was gone. The next lap I came around I saw that there were yellow flags. I feel really bad and I do not want to see anybody go down but for me I was on the line and there was nobody in front of me except for Jonathan. I do not feel like I did anything wrong, necessarily.

"But it is never good to have contact. I felt I was on the correct line and then Tom comes in contact, and for sure I do not want to be involved in anything. I felt some pressure to me but not because I was going more wide.”

Sykes had another view, having made a wanker to the TV cameras in his pit garage after the incident as he indicated an unseen target of his attention.

Sykes said, when told that Gerloff said he was on his own line, “Well he was on his own line, that’s for sure. I am frustrated because BMW certainly had some potential today we saw that with myself and Eugene.

He was definitely on his own line, I don’t think I could have got much tighter to the white line, and I am frustrated because first and foremost I am not very happy when some other rider puts me on the tarmac in front of 20 other bikes.

"I am definitely quite agitated about this. It was probably a good move that I went to my motor home. If he wants to make excuses then fine, he can go ahead and do that. But normally a real man would accept his own mistake and move on. The push was not massive but contact is contact and it knocked me and the handlebar.

"Unfortunately Eugene was on the outside and he took a massive knock. We can talk about it all day bit at the end of the day he was in the wrong. He obviously got drawn into the corner and kinda miscalculated it.

"Jonathan was in front of me and maybe I could have gone in there a little bit faster but at the end of the day the guys is behind me and he needs to anticipate what is going on. Just like in any normal circumstance.”

After Sykes’ bike had tagged his team-mate, Laverty’s first angry reaction after landing in the gravel was not directed towards Sykes. “No, because I saw the crash two seconds before it happened and that is why I was so angry with Gerloff,” said Laverty.


I could see in my peripheral him on my left. I thought, 'What the fuck is he doing?' When you overtake somebody in that corner, it is a 90° corner, and if you have the chance to overtake in a normal race you have to pass beside somebody.

"If you come diagonally and the corner is 90°, suddenly the corner for him is much tighter. When I saw him there I thought, 'This is going to be a crash,' so I let off the brakes to go around the outside because I knew the crash was coming.

"I went much faster through the corner than I wanted and took more risks to escape the crash. Then I heard it happening behind me, the noise, and I thought – maybe not! – but then it just touched my rear wheel. I knew the crash was happening two seconds before and I don't think Gerloff was paying attention.

"He was on a really bad line. This is not a first corner accident I can forgive. Even what happened to me two years ago when Xavi Fores took me out at turn three after my last pole position. This you can forgive because he made a mistake on the brakes. This isn't turn one – this is a startline accident what he did! We are not even braking yet. This is unforgivable this kind of mistake.”

Laverty continued to explain what he felt was wrong with Gerloff’s statement that he was on his own line. “This isn’t his line… I was on the racing line from pole position. So, you cannot try to overtake there from the inside.


"We are coming from the racing line on the outside. What he did is not his line. The only time he has been on that line all weekend is on lap one because of where his grid position was.

"When you start you have to try to get across to open the corner and he just arrived at the apex – what the fuck does he think is going to happen?

"That is why I am angry as a rider because I can forgive usually, but this really was so stupid. And he has not come to apologise yet which shows that some of these young kids nowadays maybe need some manners taught to them.”

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