PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN J NELSON
SONOMA, CA, MAY 3 – Hay fever be damned: Y.E.S. Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Garrett Gerloff threw down the fastest lap today at Sonoma Raceway in Pro Sportbike qualifying and will start on pole for the second round of the Superbike Shootout. Gerloff’s 1:38.669 – just .23 of a second off of the Sportbike qualifying track record set by the late Tommy Aquino in 2010 – was rather impressive considering it was the 18-year old Texan’s first day on track at Sonoma Raceway.
“Actually this isn’t my first day, it’s my second day because I did a scooter lap yesterday,” Gerloff corrected tongue-in-cheek. “Every lap I do I figure something else out, find a new bump, figure out a different line – something to help me get around the track a little faster. Those last three laps my board didn’t tell me what position I was in. I made a mistake the first two laps and that last lap I had a clean one and wasn’t really sure where I was. So I was just kind of going for it and dragging my elbow pretty good… just an awesome track and having fun.”
Last week’s winner Bobby Fong – on the Latus Motors Racing Triumph – ended up trailing Gerloff by .975 of a second. GEICO Honda’s Jake Zemke completes the front row for tomorrow’s race.
Fourth went to Zemke’s teammate Joe Roberts, the youngster 1.776 seconds behind Gerloff. Then came a bunch of Yamahas, led by Team H35’s Benny Solis. Tuned Racing’s Bryce Prince and Jason Aguilar finished sixth and eighth, respectively. Gerloff’s teammate JD Beach qualified seventh.
Veteran Michael Barnes ended the day ninth on the Veloce Racing MV Agusta with privateer Michael Gilbert rounding out the top 10.
2014 Superbike Shootout
Pro Sportbike Qualifying Results
1. Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha) 1:38.669
2. Bobby Fong (Triumph) 1:39.644
3. Jake Zemke (Honda) 1:39.878
4. Joe Roberts (Honda) 1:40.445
5. Benny Solis (Yamaha) 1:41.157
6. Bryce Prince (Yamaha) 1:41.265
7. JD Beach (Yamaha) 1:41.925
8. Jason Aguilar (Yamaha) 1:42.582
9. Michael Barnes (MV Agusta) 1:42.838
10. Michael Gilbert (Yamaha) 1:42.999