MotoGP: Garrett Gerloff replaces Valentino Rossi for FP1 and FP2 in Valencia

Garrett Gerloff will make his MotoGP debut today when he steps in for Valentino Rossi during FP1 and FP2 at the European Grand Prix in Valencia.

The World Superbike rider will get his chance on the M1 whilst the Monster Energy Yamaha team waits for the results of a second Covid-19 test for Rossi.

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The Italian’s test on Thursday came back negative, however he also needs a second test to come back negative. Rossi took that test this morning after flying to Valencia last night. The nine-time world champion missed both races at Aragon after testing positive for the disease

Gerloff becomes the first American to ride in the premier class since the late Nicky Hayden in 2016.  He enjoyed a successful maiden season in WSB, picking up three podiums for the factory supported GRT Yamaha team. These successes came at Barcelona and Estoril, whilst the American was also fighting towards the front at Magny-Cours – battling with Jonathan Rea at one stage. 

Gerloff is also a two-time MotoAmerica Supersport champion and finished third in the Superbike class in 2019 – with four wins and a further 11 podiums across 20 races.

“I’m so honoured that Yamaha has considered me for this opportunity,” Gerloff said. “This year has already been quite the adventure, and this would be the cherry on top. It‘s been a dream of mine to ride the Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike since I started racing so many years ago, and to potentially have it happen is really exciting.

“But I am just sorry to get this opportunity under these unfortunate circumstances for Valentino. I feel really bad for him and I hope that he recovers soon, we all miss the number 46 on track! All the best to him.

“If I do end up riding this weekend, it will be an uphill battle not knowing the bike, tyres, brakes, etc. Also, I have never been to the Valencia track before. But I‘m confident in myself and ready for the challenge! Thanks to all at Yamaha. Bring it on!”

FP1 has just got underway at Valencia (09:55), with FP2 scheduled to begin at 13:30 (UK Time) this afternoon (November 6). Should Rossi test negative again today, he will take part in the European GP from FP3 onwards.