Paul Denning discusses Garrett Gerloff and Toprak Razgatlioglu, MotoGP™ and more after Gerloff’s MotoGP™ debut
With the shock announcement from MotoGP™ recently about Maverick Viñales splitting with Yamaha at the end of the 2021 campaign, eyes have turned to two potential candidates for seats at Yamaha teams in MotoGP™ from the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. Garrett Gerloff (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) made his debut in MotoGP™ at Assen while Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK) has expressed his desire to become a World Champion in WorldSBK, but Pata Yamaha Team Manager Paul Denning admitted he can “imagine both are candidates” for a vacant seat in MotoGP™.
“I can imagine that Garrett and Toprak are candidates for MotoGP™. It depends on the chances and timing,” Denning said in an interview with Motorsport.com. “We'd like to keep both of them here. If someone gets a good MotoGP offer, Yamaha won't get in the way. I can't speak for Garrett. But in the case of Toprak, I know his motivation is to win. I can't speak for him, but I can imagine that he would prefer to be Superbike World Champion rather than finish sixth in MotoGP.”
Gerloff has had two tastes of MotoGP™ action in since making the switch to WorldSBK, first taking part in Friday at the Gran Premio de Europa in Valencia last season before replacing Franco Morbidelli for the Dutch Grand Prix at TT Circuit Assen as the Italian picked up an injury in training prior to the event. Looking back on Gerloff’s MotoGP™ race debut, Denning said: “He had a difficult start in terms of the weather. This Friday it was wet, then half-wet, then half-dry - it was a lousy day in terms of the weather. He stayed relaxed and let his talent speak for itself. He rode as fast as he could and didn't worry. He did a fantastic job.
“I know that he impressed Lin (Jarvis) and the Yamaha MotoGP organization. It was a good advertisement for the World Superbike Championship," commented Paul Denning, explaining: "He had not yet won a race in the Superbike World Championship and wasn't consistently at the top either. With the MotoGP-Yamaha he was instantly quick.”
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