MotoAmerica’s Garrett Gerloff heading to 2020 WorldSBK grid?

American Superbike rising star Garrett Gerloff is tipped to making the move to the WorldSBK Championship next season at GRT Yamaha

Garrett Gerloff - Yamaha MotoAmerica

MotoAmerica front-runner Garrett Gerloff looks set to make his World Superbike Championship debut next season after being linked with a spot in the GRT Yamaha squad, replacing the out-of-favour Sandro Cortese.

The 24-year-old, who is coming off the back of a strong season in the US-based Superbike series, was recently seen in the WorldSBK paddock to explore options to race in Europe next season.

Now, according to numerous sources, including America’s Asphalt and Rubber and Germany’s, reports suggest Cortese has been frozen out of the satellite GRT Yamaha fold in favour of Gerloff.

If confirmed, Gerloff would be paired with Federico Caricasulo, who has long been tipped to replace the soon-to-be-retired Marco Melandri following his own strong WorldSSP campaign.

GRT will run the new 2020 Yamaha R1 next season in a similar specification to the full factory Pata Yamaha entries to be ridden by Michael van der Mark and Toprak Razgatlioglu.

Who is Garrett Gerloff?

Gerloff is regarded as one of the rising stars in American Superbike competition – and Yamaha’s rider programme - having won the MotoAmerica Supersport title twice before making the successful transition to the Superbike class.

In 2018 he finished fifth overall before securing third in 2019 with four wins behind the experienced Cameron Beaubier and Toni Elias.

It is this strong showing, his keenness to make the jump to Europe and likely his favourable nationality in relation to both Yamaha and WorldSBK rights’ holders Dorna that may have motivated Gerloff’s speedy transition. 

Indeed, the US has not had a full-time representative in WorldSBK this year after Jake Gagne raced for Honda last year, though it didn’t seem to affect spectator figures for the Laguna Seca WorldSBK round – which MotoAmerica supported – with Dorna showing a small rise year-on-year.

Yamaha has a good record of attracting American protégés to the European-based scene, most notably Ben Spies, who signed for the manufacturer in 2009 and won the title at his first attempt.

Sandro Cortese to Ten Kate Yamaha?

It’s been a tricky transition for Cortese from Supersport – where was title winner in 2018 – to Superbike with his best results coming at the start of the season and peaking with a sixth place at Jerez. Moreover, his results have often been typified by strong qualifying efforts followed by drops down the order in race conditions.

Despite the outcome with GRT, Cortese might still end up riding a Yamaha R1 in 2020 as he could be a hit tip to shift over to another of the manufacturer’s satellite efforts, Ten Kate Racing where he could line up in an expanded two man team alongside Loris Baz.