French WorldSBK star Loris Baz believes the combination of himself, Yamaha and the Tan Kate team can win races in the championship and consistency challenge the works teams.
Baz, who was at the sharp end through winter testing, was on the wrong end of some argy bargy at Phillip Island and demonstrably down on power and speed along the start/finish straight after not getting a 2020 engine but Baz showed the team has what it takes.
“The weekend was mixed. On one hand, it’s very positive, but on the other one it’s also frustrating regarding the number of points we have scored. At the end of the day that’s the most important thing. We could have scored a lot more,” said Baz.
” But we were really unlucky. I hate to say this, but I’ve been unlucky in Australia, I’ve been pushed twice. Last year we kept saying that we lacked preparation and the experience with the bike to play at the front of the field. But this winter we managed to follow a strong testing programme and we were ready to fight for the win.
“I think in Australia we showed that we can be here. Ten Kate, Yamaha and Loris Baz is a trio that can win. We’ve been in front in every race, but these things happen. I’m very happy with the work we have done in the preseason, which now allows us, as a private team, to have the level to beat the official structures.”
For the next round, initially scheduled to take place in Jerez, Baz was expected to have the 2020 version of the YZF-R1 engine. “If all goes well, I’ll still have it at the next round. Unfortunately, due to the situation with the lockdown and transport problems, we don’t really know what the situation is.”
I’m expecting a little bit more top speed and more power on top. That’s what we’re missing right now. We saw it in the second race at Phillip Island: I was passed in the straights and it was hard to lead the race.
“That’s why I did my best to stay in front and not be caught up by the group behind us. I think the 2020 engine is working a bit better. We need a little bit more so we don’t get caught up in the straights. There are a lot of other qualities on the bike that you must use. Just like in MotoGP, the bike is a very smooth and gives power perfectly at the maximum lean angle.
“I think the bike behaves better overall,” he says. “Even in terms of wheelies, the new fairing makes the bike more stable. I think we still have some work to do. I’m not in the factory team, but I’m involved in the development of the Yamaha.
“The aerodynamics haven’t been fully explored yet and I think we can do better to help the taller riders like Toprak, Michael and me. I think we will improve throughout the year.”