The Frenchman has certainly made his mark on WorldSBK, with his best finish in nearly five years!
Having been a late addition to the WorldSBK grid in 2019, Loris Baz showed his wet weather skills to take fourth place in Race 1 at Misano, his first top-four finish since he was second in Race 1 at Losail in 2014. The Frenchman struggled in Tissot Superpole, meaning he was left to come through the order from 16th in Race 1, on his way to his and Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha’s best result of the season after just two rounds of competition.
Having got up to 11th in the first few laps, Baz would start from the middle of the fourth row for the restart. Keep his cool and incrementally upping his pace, Baz was soon carving his way through the pack like a hot knife through butter, whilst also taking advantage of unfortunate crashes from Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Team) and Leon Haslam (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK).
Speaking after the race, Baz said: “The race was really good, I’m really proud of everyone at Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha because just four weeks ago, they were in Italy with Yamaha just to build the bike. We are making really good steps in the dry, but I was really happy when the rain came because I knew we had a good pace from FP3. I was not so far from Alvaro, but I thought, ‘OK, we will stay here’ but then I see Leon Haslam crash and I think again, ‘well that is the podium spot, so I need to push harder!’ After a moment, I just thought to bring it home!
Having returned to WorldSBK at Jerez two weeks ago, Baz now goes in search of his first back-to-back top fives in the championship since Misano Race 2 and Portimao Race 1 in 2014. Will he be able to repeat his remarkable Race 1 achievement? Baz’s fourth position also makes it al Yamahas on the grid having achieved top six finishes in 2019 – the only manufacturer that can lay claim to that is BMW.
Continuing, Baz stated: “In the dry, we do not have the pace for the podium yet, but the target is to be closer to the top five. The target tomorrow is to come back and try and get a good place on the grid for Race 2; the main target in the dry is to understand more, improve and ride better.”
Watch the remainder of the Pata Riviera di Rimini WorldSBK Round and Baz’ progress in WorldSBK with the WorldSBK VideoPass!