Bonovo action BMW’s Loris Baz enjoyed a successful IDM wildcard at the weekend after claiming two second place finishes at Assen.
Rather than relax during the WorldSBK summer break, Baz was onboard a BMW M1000RR - though different in spec to his usual World Championship machine - but with no prior testing, the Frenchman used the weekend to gradually improve across Friday’s two free practice sessions before qualifying fourth on Saturday.
Starting on the front row due to a rival’s penalty in race one, Baz had already moved up to second by the second lap and hung on to championship leader Markus Reiterberger for a total of 15 laps. A last lap pass was eventually denied with the pair crossing the line split by 0.046 seconds.
With a flipped grid for race two, Baz launched strongly from seventh and was already in third place after the first lap, back in second on lap two and snatched the race lead two laps later. Gradually, however, Reiterberger closed in again and passed Baz with four to go. Refusing to get involved in the IDM Championship battle, the Frenchman contentedly took home another second place.
“I knew it was not going to be easy when you are competing in a national championship because these guys know their bike intimately,” Baz reflected on Sunday. “I was a bit grumpy all weekend because we arrived here without testing and we already had some worries. For example, the bike overheated a lot and we struggled with the set up of the bike, especially the brakes, because it is all completely different from the WorldSBK bike. Nevertheless, it was a lot of fun.
“I already know Markus [Reiterberger] and have raced against him before. It was really fun. In the first race I tried to catch him at the end, but he closed all the doors, so I tried to attack in the last chicane, but it just was not enough.
“I still had a lot of fun and it is great to see so many people here and at the same time to be able to race without pressure for once.
“Before the second race I knew we could have improved the bike, but we preferred not to change too much. I have not ridden this format for a long time, where you then have to start further back. Nevertheless, I was quickly at the front and initially thought I could pull away, but then I saw that Markus was coming from behind. I did not want to destroy my tyres or get in his way and he passed cleanly.
“The bike was pretty much standard level with only minor updates, so it was not easy to just hit it here. Thanks to the Bonovo action BMW Racing team for this opportunity, I had so much fun! Also thanks to Markus for all the nice battles!”