Garrett Gerloff, Federico Caricasulo to GRT Yamaha for 2020 WorldSBK 

The GRT Yamaha satellite outfit gets a rebrand for the 2020 WorldSBK season and signs rookies Federico Caricasulo and Garrett Gerloff

GRT Yamaha

GRT Yamaha will enter the 2020 WorldSBK Championship with an entirely new rider line-up after signing Yamaha proteges Garrett Gerloff and Federico Caricasulo.

Caricasulo has been rumoured for some time after a strong WorldSSP campaign which could yet see him win the 2019 title in Qatar this weekend, while Gerloff heads to Europe after a successful tenure with the manufacturer in the MotoAmerica series.

They replace 2018 WorldSSP champion Sandro Cortese – who fell out of favour after a disappointing rookie Superbike campaign – and Marco Melandri, who retires after this weekend’s Qatar WorldSBK round.

“For me this is a dream come true,”23-year-old Caricasulo said. “To have the chance to step up to WorldSBK is already fantastic, but to be given the opportunity to do so with Yamaha and in a team that I know well is just incredible. I grew up as a racer as part of the GRT Yamaha team, realising my potential on the world stage with them, so I'm excited to go back and start this new adventure. 

“But for now, I need to put this to one side and focus on the final race of the season in the Supersport class. I am second in the championship, just eight points off the lead, so it's still all to play for at the final round. 

“Nothing would make me happier than stepping up to WorldSBK as the reigning Supersport World Champion, and that's exactly what we'll be aiming for in Qatar next week."

“I want to start out by saying thank you to Yamaha Motor USA for everything that they’ve done for me, for signing me in the first place so many years ago and really having faith in me,” added Gerloff. “I wouldn’t be where I am now in my career without their help. I’m really excited to say that I’ll be continuing in the Yamaha family for 2020, this time with the GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team. 

“I’m also really looking forward to representing America overseas. It’s something that I’ve always dreamed of doing and something that I’ve been preparing for, and I feel like I’m ready to do. I really appreciate Yamaha Europe giving me the opportunity to be that guy, to be one of the guys, to represent them and try to go get good results.”

Satellite outfit rebranded GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team

The fresh rider line-up at GRT comes as part of a rebranding exercise that will see the Italian outfit become a junior set-up for the manufacturer, potentially feeding the factory Crescent Racing-run Pata Yamaha team.

This move goes a long way to explain why Yamaha chose two new riders over retaining Cortese, who despite being a Superbike ’noob’ doesn’t quite represent the ‘junior’ tag of the reprofiled team.

At 23-years-oldm Caricasulo has been tipped to become the next great Italian Superbike rider having successfully risen about his counterparts in Yamaha’s young rider programme, while Gerloff – who has been championed by Yamaha’s sole WorldSBK riders’ champion Ben Spies – brings a welcome international quality to a grid not exactly brimming with non-European riders.

For the 2020 WorldSBK season, they will be armed with the latest generation Yamaha R1 and will be charged with providing ample support to the factory outfit, which will consist of Toprak Razgatlioglu and Michael van der Mark.