January 10, 2023

World Superbike: Yamaha duo Gerloff, Razgatlioglu clear the air

GRT rider Gerloff made a rapid start from eighth on the grid but misjudged his braking into Turn 1, crashing into the factory R1 of Razgatlioglu and forcing him into an immediate retirement.

Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea was able to take advantage of the collision between the Yamaha duo to complete a hat-trick of wins in the Netherlands and overturn what was a two-point deficit to Razgatlioglu into a hefty 37-point lead in the standings.

Razgatlioglu slammed Gerloff’s “stupid move” in the immediate aftermath of the incident, saying the American rider was wrong to attempt a risky overtake on a rider who is part of the same manufacturer and fighting for the world championship.

Rea and Ducati’s Scott Redding were also critical of the 26-year-old, accusing him of lacking respect towards his rivals and “putting everyone at risk”.

Speaking for the first time since the incident, Gerloff said he has put the matter to bed after holding talks with Razgatlioglu, and will change his approach towards on-track battles heading into this weekend’s races at Most in the Czech Republic.

“I got an amazing start, one of the best starts I’ve ever gotten in my career,” Gerloff told the official WSBK site. “I just had a bit more momentum than anyone else, I was closing in, and went on to the brakes and felt like I had an opportunity to work my way towards the front. 

“But then a split-second later I backed out because of circumstances that I’ve found myself in the past this year [incidents involving other riders], but in doing that I put myself in a worse position. I wanted to be cautious but that seemed to be a worse strategy. 

“I wasn’t going much faster, but made slight contact, enough to cause Toprak to go down. I feel bad for Yamaha. We might not be direct teammates but we are definitely on the same side and also I feel really bad for my GRT team. 

“I’ve been able to talk to Toprak and it seems like everything is more or less okay, and definitely as far as my approach to the races, I just want to ride my Yamaha M1 to the best I can, with a smile on my face, and just go do what I know how to do, and try to be cautious but not in a way that will jeopardise myself or anyone else.”

Razgatlioglu said he was so frustrated after the incident that he initially declined the chance to speak with Gerloff at Assen, but has since accepted his explanation.

However, he maintains that the American rider needs to tone down his aggression on track, contrasting his example with that of his rookie factory Yamaha teammate Andrea Locatelli.

“After the crash I did not speak to Garrett because I was very angry and I said it was better to speak at Most, he sent me a message after the crash,” said Razgatlioglu.

“He is just trying to pass riders. This is racing, it is possible to crash, also [when] riders pass. Just I am angry [because] also I ride Yamaha, we [both] ride for Yamaha and sometimes you need to help [your teammate].

“Also I ride with ‘Loca’ [Locatelli] and he doesn’t try aggressive passing. Maybe he needs to be a little bit calm. Just I am angry for this. It’s racing, crashing is ok, but it’s the first lap, and we have 20 [more] laps. But I think he understands.”

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