Garrett Gerloff scored his first WSBK podium in Race 2 at Catalunya and dedicated it to American hero Nicky Hayden.
Garrett Gerloff deserves a lot more respect than what the mainstream media has given him this season, the American rider has left his comfy life in America racing in MotoAmerica to chase a dream on the world stage, the same way many American racing legends of the sport have done so before him with one name springing to mind, Nicky Hayden.
MotoGP Legend Nicky Hayden left America to race in the pinnacle of motorcycle racing, MotoGP back in 2003, being rewarded for this with a championship in 2006. Hayden is an idol for many American riders with riders donning his Arai replica helmet to race with or using his famous 69, for example, Sean Dylan Kelly at Valencia 2019, running a Nicky Hayden helmet and Hayden’s 69.
Moving from the USA to Europe is a major move, a move not many riders have done in recent years with riders like Cameron Beaubier preferring to dominate MotoAmerica than race in WSBK, however, Gerloff has made that jump and he has done so at the perfect time, moving to the Yamaha supported GRT WSBK team, the ‘junior’ team as they call it.
Race by race Gerloff has improved with Catalunya behind his best weekend yet, scoring a P5 finish in the superpole before backing this up with a third placed finish in Race 2, dedicating this to hero Nicky Hayden, “It means so much to me,” commented the American. “I knew Nicky and trained a bit with him and his brothers and the Owensboro kids. Nicky was my inspiration because he always worked very hard.”
He was so determined and his only goal was good races. He was always focused in order to get the best possible results. That was an inspiration to me. It showed me what it takes to be a world championship racer.”
This result has motivated Gerloff more than ever to do even better than this, potentially even win races, “It feels unreal. Words fail me. It feels like a dream. It’s great, I want more of it!
It is the greatest relief to have brought everything together. I am so happy and at the same time so relieved. I always knew that I could manage and that I could keep up with these guys for wins and podiums, sometimes you get pensive when you keep telling yourself [that you can do it] you think you’re lying to yourself.”
Gerloff has proven that he has a podium in the bag, writing himself into the notepad of the factory Pata Yamaha Team’s shortlist for 2021, only time will tell if Gerloff can continue this, we are more than certain he can.
Featured image – www.grtracingteam.com