Yamaha has lined up World Superbike rider Garrett Gerloff as a replacement for Valentino Rossi should he be unable to race in the MotoGP European Grand Prix due to COVID-19.
Rossi missed the Aragon double-header after catching the virus and failed a COVID-19 test on Tuesday, forcing Yamaha to line up a replacement should he also test positive on Wednesday.
Gerloff rode an R1 for the GRT Yamaha WSBK team in his debut season in the series in 2020, scoring three podiums.
Given this weekend will mark his MotoGP debut, it has raised questions as to why Yamaha’s official test rider Jorge Lorenzo was not given the nod.
With the triple MotoGP world champion admitting last week he is speaking to Aprilia as well as Yamaha about a test rider role in 2021, does this latest snub – after Yamaha elected against fielding him last month at the Teruel GP – suggest Lorenzo will indeed part ways with the Japanese marque at the end of the year?
This is the main topic of discussion in this week’s Tank Slappers podcast with Autosport’s Lewis Duncan and Motorsport.com’s Oriol Puigdemont.
The guys also preview the upcoming European GP in Valencia, which kicks off the final triple-header of the campaign and the first round of the championship showdown between Joan Mir, Fabio Quartararo, Maverick Vinales, Franco Morbidelli, Andrea Dovizioso and Alex Rins.
Just 32 points covers the six riders with 75 up for grabs across the Valencia/Portugal triple-header.