A long wait is over for Loris Baz as he is able to celebrate his first podium with the Ten Kate Racing Yamaha team
As MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship action returned to the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, there were high hopes for riders up and down the paddock for the Motul Portuguese Round. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) was one of these and he had good reason to have them as he picked up his first WorldSBK podium in six years and Ten Kate Racing’s first in four years.
The big moment for Baz came in Sunday’s Tissot Superpole Race as he finished third to claim the podium from sixth on the grid to claim the podium, finishing less than a second ahead of Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) but less than two seconds ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu (PATA YAMAHA WorldSBK Official Team); the Turkish rider being the highest placed Yamaha rider.
Baz reacted to his podium finish, saying: “Finally back on the podium after so many times finishing in fourth and fifth. It’s a year since we started this new project with the team and Yamaha so I’m happy. It’s six years since my last podium and four years since the last Ten Kate podium and it’s our first podium altogether with Yamaha. It’s a big achievement and I’m looking for more.
“We made some big changes on the bike since Saturday and it was really feeling better on the bike straight away in the Warm Up and the race. We were third in the whole race, managing the gap to Alex and bringing it home. I didn’t want to make any mistakes at the end, it was really hard, but I was super happy for all the guys in the team that deserve it.”
However, Sunday running at Portimao was not all plan sailing for Baz as he suffered a high-speed crash on the opening lap at Turn 15 of Race 2, retiring from the race but able to walk away from the accident.
Baz said: “There’s not much to say about Race 2. I had a crash on the first lap at the fastest corner of the track. A big sorry to the guys. It was a strange one, I didn’t expect it at all. The conditions were really slippery today and I didn’t have time to feel anything in that first lap and I just lost the front doing exactly the same thing as I had done all weekend. We have to be happy from this weekend, it was another super weekend as always in the front group.”
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