Morbidelli aggravated a pre-existing left knee injury during a training incident on Tuesday and has been ruled out of this weekend’s Dutch TT as MotoGP returns to Assen for the first time since 2019.
SRT has called up Yamaha World Superbike rider Gerloff for this weekend, who completed two practice sessions in Valencia last year as Rossi’s stand-in before the Italian was cleared to return to action following his two-round COVID-19 absence.
Now joining Rossi as a team-mate for this weekend, Gerloff admits it’s off for him to be in the same garage as that of the nine-time grand prix motorcycle world champion’s.
“I haven’t seen Valentino today, but it is strange to go to the box and to see his team and his bike over there to the right, which is the bike I rode last year,” Gerloff said.
“And now I’m on the other side now. It’s kind of curious, but anyway I hope to see him soon.”
Gerloff has no prior experience of Assen having made his WSBK debut in 2020 when the Dutch round was scrubbed from the calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the American believes he knows the track well enough given the amount of racing he’s watched at the circuit over the years.
Garrett Gerloff, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“No, I haven’t seen the track yet, it’s actually something I’m going to do after I finish this meeting is to do the track walk,” he added.
“But I feel like I know the track because I’ve been watching races from here my whole life and also with the MotoGP website, they have the onboard cameras and everything and I’ve been watching some of those.
“It looks like an amazing track, looks like it has a great flow, seems like a flowing track which I know is good for the Yamahas.
“So, excited to get on track tomorrow.”
Explaining when he found out the news he would be replacing Morbidelli, Gerloff added: “It definitely happened fast.
“I was coming back from the Navarra [WSBK] test and I got a message and it just sort of happened from there.
“Yeah, so it was definitely last-minute but thanks to Alpinestars and HJC for all the last-minute work they’ve been doing to make sure I have everything I need for Friday morning.
“Basically, that’s just how it was, really quick, a phone call a couple of days ago and bada bing, bada boom.”
Gerloff will become the first American rider since Nicky Hayden in Australia in 2016 to start a MotoGP race should come this Sunday, and will be making his grand prix debut a decade on from the last US win in the world championship back in 2011 when Ben Spies – also on a Yamaha – won the Dutch TT.