The silly season is over for 22-year-old Garrett Gerloff, a double MotoAmerica supersport champ from Texas. Despite hints and innuendo about a possible ride in the European-based world championships, Gerloff will be back at MotoAmerica next year—albeit on a superbike.
Yamaha announced Friday that Gerloff will join Cameron Beaubier on the Monster Energy-Yamalube-Yamaha Factory Racing Superbike team. That means he’s taking over for Josh Hayes, the 42-year-old “Mississippi Madman” who has won four domestic superbike championships.
“Taking the ‘Josh Hayes spot’ isn’t something I take lightly,” Gerloff said in a release. “It is an honor.”
“If I can accomplish just a fraction of what he has, then I will be doing pretty well,” he said.
Beaubier, 24, will now be able to share the burden of being the next-big-thing in American motorcycle racing with his younger teammate.
Beaubier, a double MotoAmerica superbike champ, dislocated his shoulder in the Pittsburgh race this year and had to undergo surgery to repair the damage. The team says he’s expected to be be back at full strength for the 2018 season.
Yamaha has some catching up to do with Suzuki, which dominated the 2017 MotoAmerica season on GSX-R1000s ridden by champion Toni Elias and Roger Hayden.
And Jake Gagne is another young rider who could make some waves next year as Honda works to bring its CBR1000RR SP2 up to snuff. His stints on the World Superbike stage should help.
MotoAmerica is switching up its opening schedule next season by opening at Road Atlanta on the weekend of April 13 to 15, followed by supporting the MotoGP race at Circuit of The Americas in Texas two weeks later.