Ten Kate Yamaha’s Loris Baz had a tough Portimao in some ways, being 15th on the final grid after crashing in Superpole, and then again in Saturday’s race one, even though in remounting he finished 16th.
Things improved in Saturday’s sprint race, as he entered the top ten ahead of Chaz Davies. He had his best performance in the final race, when his third row grid slot - a consequence of ninth in the ten-lap Sprint race – saw him come through to finish sixth.
Donington was a better round for ex-BSB and proven WorldSBK race winner Baz, but his race two ride at Portimao put him ahead of Michael van der Mark’s factory R1. And Marco Melandri and Tom Sykes, too.
“I made a mistake at the wrong time and in Superbike if you make a mistake in Superpole with a qualifying tyre then you f****ed up all the week,”Baz bluntly told bikesportnews.com.
“We just missed an experiment with the qualifying tyre and I did not have the feedback at the limit with it. I pushed on a strong lap with the qualifier, but I crashed. I had been P5 on race tyres so when you finally start the race in P15 you make the race really hard.”
Two main areas for improvement for Baz and Ten Kate, even if they have made an impressive return already. And that is according to Baz himself. “The two negative points we have are qualifying and the start.
“On Saturday we made a bad start again but I managed to come back to P8 and I had the group in front of me. So I pushed hard to come back but I crashed again. But I had to try. That is what we said with the team.”
A charge from 18th to eighth, and then finally ninth, saw Baz make a third row start to the final race two.
“Then I knew I had the pace to be in the top five in Race Two,” said Baz. “I just wanted to show it. I know I was strong at the Portimao test, strong on Friday, strong yesterday morning, but I did not show anything. I was really looking forward to make a good race so sixth in Race Two was a nice one.”
It was not all plain sailing for Baz, as he had to sit behind an old team-mate, and finally bitter rival, Tom Sykes.
“I lost a lot of time behind Tom, because he is a really tough guy to overtake,” said Baz. “I lost around three seconds but was behind Michael I took it easy to come back and not kill the tyre.
“I lost time with him so I could have caught Leon and Alex, as I had better pace than them, but it is like this. I think starting from where we start, and with the bad starts we are doing, I am really happy with the job all the team is doing. We were fighting with three factory bikes on Sunday, so that is cool.”
Next up for Baz is a flurry of action, a two-day test at Valencia on his WorldSBK bike this week, a ride in the Bol d’Or from 21-22 September, and then his home WorldSBK race at Magny Cours in late September.