Gerloff: Split-second decision to back off led to Razgatlioglu WorldSBK clash

Garrett Gerloff says a late cautious approach into T1 at Assen led to contact that took WorldSBK title contender and Yamaha peer Toprak Razgatlioglu out

Toprak Razgatlioglu - Pata Yamaha WorldSBK 2021, Garrett Gerloff - GRT Yamaha

Garrett Gerloff believes a split-second decision to go for greater caution into turn one at Assen played a pivotal factor in his collision with Toprak Razgatlioglu than if he had tried to nail the hole-shot.

Gerloff clipped his title-challenging Yamaha stablemate at the start of the second WorldSBK race at Assen, sending the Turkish rider skating into the gravel trap into his first DNF of the year while championship rival Jonathan Rea clinched his third win of the weekend.

Prompting an exasperated Razgatlioglu to point the finger of blame directly at Gerloff, the latest incident occurs in a season that has seen the American blot his copybook with notable collisions with Rea (Aragon) and Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Estoril).

Coming to Round 6 of the 2021 WorldSBK Championship at Most, Gerloff emphasised his contrition and explained more about how it occurred, revealing his late easing off coming into the right-hander - caution dictated by previous accidents - probably led to the contact that took Razgatlioglu down.

“Definitely,” he told when asked whether he will alter his racing approach for the remainder of the season. “I got a great start, one of the best starts in my racing career so I had a bit more momentum than everyone else , which I knew about as I was closing in. 

“I went up to the brakes and I thought I could work my way to the front but then a split second later I backed out, because of circumstances I have found myself in this year. 

“In doing that I put myself in a worse position - in a difficult place to be cautious where being cautious [ends up being] a worse strategy. I wasn’t going much faster but made slight contact, enough to cause Toprak to  go down. 

“I feel really bad for Yamaha, we may not be direct team-mates but we are on the same side and I feel bad for my GRT team, they deserve the best and I feel bad I haven’t given them my best this year. 

“I have been able to talk with Toprak and it seems everything is more or less OK, but as far as my approach to races [goes] I want to be able to ride my Yamaha R1 to the best I can with a smile on my face and do what I know to do, trey to be cautious but not in a way that jeopardises myself or anyone else.”