The Frenchman made his mark with ninth place at Jerez, a credit to him and the Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha squad!
Loris Baz made a welcome return to WorldSBK action at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, with a ninth place in Race 2 being his first top ten since Race 1 Losail last season. The Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha outfit secured a strong comeback ride too, with the team still getting to grip with Yamaha machinery after 15 years in WorldSBK with Honda.
It was far from an easy weekend for Baz, who catapulted his Yamaha YZF-R1 in dramatic fashion in FP2, with a huge crash at Turn 4, leaving the team with a big job to get the bike ready for Saturday and Sunday. Race 1 saw Baz take a 12th place, whilst he retired from his first ever Tissot Superpole Race. The two-time WorldSBK race winner then capitalised on crashes in front of him to finish Race 2 in ninth position, the first top ten for a Frenchman on a Yamaha since Sylvain Guintoli in 2016.
Speaking after his first weekend back racing in 2019, Baz said: “It was a difficult day that ended well, considering the circumstances. We had a meeting with Yamaha last night and their engineers gave us some good ideas for the set-up of the bike. We completely changed the set-up between Saturday and Sunday, which means I had to get used to the new configuration. We would have liked to take part in the warm-up and the Superpole Race, but we experienced a technical problem related to the fuel pump. The team was able to find a solution before the Race 2, in which I then had to learn the bike.”
Whilst having been on pole position at Jerez in 2014, Baz has relatively little experience on a WorldSBK machine at the circuit, having missed 2013 through injury and in his comeback to the championship last season, when Jerez didn’t feature on the calendar. Nonetheless, he can be happy that he has returned to the top ten in his first weekend, making for good foundations to build from.
“I gained more than six tenths per lap compared to yesterday. I am happy with this improvement. I lost time overtaking Reiterberger but then I managed to maintain between 3 to 4 seconds on the group that was fighting for fourth position, which is really positive! I wasn’t far off, but I learned a lot when Lowes passed me after his crash. We still need a bit of time to find the rhythm again and to understand this machine. I am still very happy! A huge thanks to the whole team who did an excellent job as well as all Yamaha staff who helped us a lot this weekend. I can’t wait to be in Misano!”
Watch Loris Baz’s return to action continue to progress with the WorldSBK VideoPass!