Second fastest rider on the final day of Jerez WorldSBK testing, Ten Late Yamaha’s Loris Baz proved yet again that the mix of a proven WorldSBK race winner and a privateer team with experience of winning the championship itself can achieve a lot under their own steam.
With a possible second team-mate expected soon, if all goes well in negotiations with a potential new team sponsor, Baz was riding alone at Jerez, on a 2019 bike with some of the team’s own modifications.
“It has been good, and we have been trying many things. We do not have the new bike yet, but we are working on the 2019 bike because not everything will be new,” Baz told bikesportnews.com. The frame and some things will be the same. So we are just trying out the things that we could not work on this year, like the riding position, trying to change the balance and also the body position in the corner. A few rigidity things we had in mind. So I am happy.”
As well he might be with second fastest time behind Rea on day two. Not bad for an independent team, especially as they were first Yamaha in the timesheets, ahead of the Pata official team.
“We are also trying to use the new tyres, trying to use the Qualifier, because that is why we were struggling a lot. Trying to work on the top speed and our starts – many things. We didn’t improve everything but the pace - I think we improved the best thing we had – which was the pace with the old tyre. And I managed to be a bit faster with the new tyre than the old one.
“It is not easy on this bike. I dunno why, but when I put on a new tyre I am slower and I get faster after five laps. Finally today I managed to improve a little bit and when I put the qualifying tyre on I improved a lot and with a second qualifying tyre I was improving when I crashed…
“I lost some focus with some riders on the track, I released the brakes and then had to take it again… But finally we improved with the qualifying tyres. We need to do another step with the new race tyre.
“In the two first laps I do not use the potential of the tyre, but for the rest I am happy with the pace and everything. What the guys have brought and we still have a few things in mind. We also tried a different airing, which is not the 2020 one, but similar to the 2020 one which is a little bit better. But for the rest it is 2019. But some of the parts we have now we will use next year, for sure.”
With no next year’s spec bike for Baz yet, and even the factory machines not being fully 2020 so far (only the test-bed bike for Niccolo Canepa was fully 2020 spec at Jerez) Baz will have to wait to January to get his hands on the re-worked model.
“At the next test in Jerez, in January, that was the plan to ride with the 2020 bike,” said Loris. “Only in January, not here.”
Ten Kate goes its own way for brakes and wheels, and some other things, and they had now material again at Jerez.
“We have tried some different wheels and brakes, suspension. Same companies as this year but different materials,” said Baz. “The guys have so many ideas and we should try different things at the next test, maybe a different swingarm, we will see. But I am happy and enjoying riding the bike more than ever; so that’s cool.”
Baz, despite doing so well in the measurement of pure pace, said of the lap times, “The times here… at the GP test everybody has the same tyre. We do not know what anybody is doing with tyres here… X tyres, zeros, qualifiers and how many qualifiers you have. Also you do not know what jobs the guys are doing. It is a reference, but you should not only see the lap times.”