A maverick setup decision by Loris Baz’s crew chief Mick Shanley which went against the advice of Yamaha top brass proved correct as the Frenchman edged closer to the WorldSBK podium in only his third meeting with the Ten Kate team.
Baz and Shanley went in the opposite direction to the rest of the smaller and lighter R1 riders and it was a smile-cracker all round for the Franco-Dutch-northern folk as 28 points were collected.
“Yes, for sure it is a surprise to be here now, but I spoke with some people and said that we were only a second, or a second point two off the best pace in Misano with a really bad feeling on the bike,” Baz told bikesportnews.com.
“Every corner I had to think about how to not crash in Misano! But I said as soon as we find something that works for me, a set-up balance that works for me, will make a massive step. And this is what we did on Friday here.
Hats off to my crew chief because he went off into a direction that he was sure was the right one, but nobody was Yamaha agreeing with him. It is the opposite where all the Yamahas are going. It is working well for me. I am tall and therefore much heavier than Marco, Cortese, Alex.
“It was a big step and I am really happy because this was the first time I could se the leading guys for all race – not just one corner like at Misano…”
Baz rates his team already, clearly, when asked if it was the best team he had ever worked for in WorldSBK. “It is a really good team and honestly the really cool thing is you can see the motivation from everyone.
“You can see that they were sitting home, missing the races all winter, and they are like me, they really just want to race and do their best and try to win races. They are giving everything and I really enjoy working with them. Also seeing the boss around you. Ronald, Gerrit Ten Kate and his wife in Misano, she was like crazy! It was really cool.”
Ten Kate has already moved away from what Yamaha uses in terms of some suppliers – brakes and wheels for now – but for Baz, they are all still learning anyway.
“At the moment it is just a question of the set-up of the bike,” he said. “Geometry, height, we have no time on the bike and we did not try what we want to try so far. Like at Jerez, we missed all-Sunday because of an issue on the bike, in Misano we had all rain one day, all Saturday rain here at Donington. We have not done so many dry laps.
Straight away I was strong and fourth in FP1 here at Donington. In FP2 also but we had some issue on the bike at the end of that session. But today in the sprint race I felt so comfortable - I could have played in the podium in race two if I had a better start so we have to work on that.
“As soon as I go off the clutch and go full gas the power drops a bit so we have to find the right start push. It was cool today because I was catching Bautista, a long time in front of Lowes, Leon, and had a great battle with Alex. Where we have come from only a few weeks ago… everybody was home and there was no bike in the workshop, there was nothing.”