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Gerloff focused on WSBK “to earn an opportunity” in MotoGP

Garrett Gerloff says he remains focused on his World Superbike campaign with Yamaha in 2021 in order “to earn an opportunity” to race in MotoGP full-time in 2022.

Garrett Gerloff, Petronas Yamaha SRT

Dorna

The American was drafted in by Petronas SRT for the Dutch Grand Prix to replace the injured Franco Morbidelli, who was ruled out of the Assen weekend after aggravating an existing knee injury in training.

Gerloff got his first taste of MotoGP machinery last year in practice for the European GP when he was brought in as Valentino Rossi’s stand-in before the Italian passed a COVID-19 test to return to racing following a two-race layoff with the virus.

Becoming the first American to start a MotoGP race since the late Nicky Hayden in Australia in 2016, Gerloff finished 17th on the two-year-old ‘A-spec’ Yamaha at Assen after a battle with Avintia’s Luca Marini.

SRT could be in need of two riders in 2022 should Rossi retire as expected at the end of the year and Morbidelli moves up to the factory Yamaha squad to replace the outgoing Maverick Vinales.

This could open the door for Gerloff to race full-time in MotoGP in 2022.

“Yeah, definitely,” he said after the Dutch TT when asked if he’d gotten a taste for racing in MotoGP.

“My goal my whole life has been to race in MotoGP, so I would definitely love to be back and to be racing in MotoGP.

“But I’m just here for now for this race and then back to World Superbikes, which is still my main focus for this year.

“So, I want to do the best I can there and then try to earn an opportunity to come back to GPs.”

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Gerloff’s Yamaha WSBK stablemate Toprak Razgatlioglu – who races for Yamaha’s factory team Crescent Racing in WSBK, while Gerloff is at the works-supported GRT squad – has already been linked to SRT for 2022.

In an interview with Motorsport.com's German edition, Yamaha boss Paul Denning says the marque “won’t get in the way” if either Razgatlioglu or Gerloff gets a MotoGP offer.

"It’s a question of opportunity and timing," said Denning. "As the official Yamaha SBK team, we would like to keep them both here with Yamaha, that’s the target.

"But at the same time if either of them got a good contract offer in MotoGP, that’s something which Yamaha would not wish to stand in the way of."

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