One of Toprak Razgatlioglu’s (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) many specialities in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is his ability to brake late with the rear wheel off the ground on the Yamaha YZF-R1 machine. Speaking at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, Garrett Gerloff (Bonovo Action BMW), who switched from Yamaha to the BMW M1000RR for this season, explained how the #54 will have to adapt when he gets on the German manufacturer’s bike in 2024.
Gerloff spent three seasons on the Yamaha machinery since his WorldSBK debut in 2020, scoring six podiums for the GRT Yamaha outfit before making the switch to the Bonovo Action BMW for this season where he has put in some impressive performances, including pole position at the Pirelli French Round; his first in WorldSBK and BMW’s first since Barcelona in 2021. On Friday, after he put in strong performances, the #31 spoke about the transition Razgatlioglu will have to make to when he gets on the M1000RR machine as Gerloff had to for this season.
The Texan-born rider went into detail about how braking on the BMW will be different compared to the Yamaha for the 2021 Champion, who’s become famous for having his rear wheel off the ground under heavy braking before making the corner even when it looks like he’s not got a chance of hitting the apex. With Gerloff, who admits there’s things from Razgatlioglu that he’s tried to emulate, also making the switch, he was able to provide some insight on the challenge the Yamaha rider will have when he joins the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team next season.
Speaking to the media on Friday, Gerloff said: “I know he’ll be able to ride it well. He does have a really particular way to ride the bike that he’s developed from the Kawasaki to the Yamaha. He’s one of the best guys so he’s somebody that I try to emulate when I ride but, for me, to try to do some of the things he does, it hasn’t been easy on the BMW to do the same. On the Yamaha, I couldn’t do exactly what he does, but I felt I was close to being able to ride on the front wheel with the rear off the ground and still stop the bike. Not in every situation but most. This bike seems like it’s a lot more difficult to ride like that. It’s a bit more nervous and it likes both wheels on the ground. It’s something him and whoever he’s working with will be able to sort out.
“There are definitely some things I’d like to change next year to help give good connection with the bike. I feel like sometimes I just want to have a great connection with the bike. Having Toprak come is going to be a big motivation for BMW. He might bring some ideas that will make them have to open their window a little bit to see what else might work. For me, it’s just hard to be consistent under braking. The Yamaha was really good about being able to lift the rear but also when it sets down, it’s smooth. The BMW likes both wheels on the ground. You start lifting the rear and touching down, it starts to kick you a little bit. The BMW is like a precision tool, which is good because you can get a lot from that, but I feel like you have to ride it not as aggressively to get the most out of it whereas something that’s a bit more of a blunt instrument, you can make it a bit more aggressively.”
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