The charismatic Frenchman may have looked good in testing, but his race weekend performance has been nothing but scintillating so far…
It took him almost five months to get back in the seat of his Yamaha YZF-R1 in racing conditions, but the wait finally paid off for Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha). The Frenchman was the fastest on the opening day of the Pirelli Spanish Round despite a slight technical problem. Fast throughout the entire morning session and right up the sharp end come the afternoon, Baz is the man to beat and has a target on his back coming into Saturday.
Speaking after the first day, Baz stated his content and jubilation: “It was a good first day. We took advantage of the first session to try out the settings we had in mind since the tests in Barcelona and Assen to get a feel for the length of the race in the face of the high temperatures. However, we managed to finish in first position despite a small technical problem which prevented us from finishing the session."
Setting 36 laps overall, the two-time WorldSBK race winner has a good history at Jerez. He returned to the top ten in just his third race with the Dutch Ten Kate Racing squad, whilst also achieving his last pole position at the track back in 2014. Working hard on race pace and cementing himself inside the top five on the overall averages, Baz may well be a race leader for a second round running come racing.
Continuing to evaluate his session, Baz commented: "We mainly focused on long runs while riding a tyre that I didn't really like. We completed 20 laps with the same tyre and we achieved the fifth fastest time. We held onto the lead in the combined standings so that bodes well for Saturday!"
The first Yamaha representative, but also the first Independent rider, Baz intends to build on this momentum onSaturday morning in FP3 and then Tissot Superpole, with the objective of securing his first pole position since this same meeting in Jerez in 2014 and getting his first podium since Losail that same season.
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