The following is from GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team…
For the final test session ahead of the beginning of the 2021 FIM Superbike World Championship, the GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team made the most out of two days of on-track activity at the Motorland Aragón circuit.
Good weather conditions helped the team work on understanding how to help the riders gain confidence with the Spanish track. Despite the nature of the track, the two GRT Yamaha riders proved to be competitive, with Garrett Gerloff always close to the top of the standings, and Kohta Nozane continuing to get better acquainted with the bike and the tyres.
Gerloff’s side of the garage focused on testing new shocks and on looking for the correct setup for the bike in preparation for the upcoming race. These two days turned out to be particularly important for the American, who did not have the outright pace to fight with the leaders in last year’s Aragón race and hopes to turn things around in 2021. When looking at the standings, the results are encouraging: fourth after the first day, with a fastest time of 1’50.527.
On Day 2 he climbed to third, and improved his lap time by more than one second, clocking in a 1’49.439. The experience gained in the 125 laps run throughout the two days will prove crucial when we come back to the this track for the first round of the championship on 21-23 May.
On the flip side of the coin, as usual in this pre-season, Nozane had a much different target than his teammate during this test. The Japanese rider is still new to the bike, the team, the tyres, but especially the circuits on the WorldSBK calendar, and is taking full advantage of every test session to become more comfortable with the whole package. Despite a difficult first approach with the track, he showed solid speed for a rookie, and ended the first day in ninth place thanks to a 1:51.711.
He further improved on the second day, but an early crash hurt his confidence with the track, and a best lap of 1:51.277, good enough for the eighth position, was the best he could manage. With the two days of testing completed, he can count on a total of 118 laps of experience at the twisty Spanish circuit.
In order to continue the preparation for the first round, the GRT Yamaha squad will already be testing again at the Aragón track next week, on Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 April
Garrett Gerloff: P3 – 1’49.439 / 125 laps
GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team
“I am so happy with the amount of information that we now have. We have sorted out a lot of things which allowed us to improve with different temperatures and wind conditions. The wind affects the feeling you have around the whole track, because it completely changes the braking points, as well as how fast the bike can turn into the corners, making some of them feel horrible because you cannot turn at all. That’s why the experience of these two days is so valuable. I know I have a strong bike and I’m happy with how we are working as a team.”
Kohta Nozane: P8 – 1’51.277 / 118 laps
GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team
“As I expected, it was very difficult for me to adapt to this track. This morning, though, I started off with a very good feeling, but then I messed up and crashed in Turn 2, damaging the bike. The team worked hard to fix it, but the crash affected my feeling negatively. Overall, I did not have a good pace, I expected more. But, fortunately, next week we will test here again, so I will immediately have another chance to improve.”