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WorldSBK Jerez: 'It is better to take fifth than nothing at all' – Baz

Loris Baz was on sparkling form again on his Ten Kate Yamaha R1 with a new-for-2020 engine and some different parts from the factory bikes, as the Dutch tuners go their own way in some areas of tech and development.

It is clearly a good way so far and another vindication of their comeback with another Japanese manufacturer after they were so unceremoniously dropped by Honda a couple of years ago.

On Saturday Baz proved his pace with a fifth place, stating, “We start every race trying to win but we also have to be happy to be in the top five, fighting with those guys, factory bikes, and in front of many factory bikes with a good pace.


“So, it is not the podium yet but until we are on the podium we have to take the biggest points we can, not making stupid mistakes, and it is better to take fifth place than nothing. So I did the best, best, best that I could I just could not make the move when I came back and that is it.”

At the beginning of the first 20-lap race he was missing something from his set-up, however. “I missed a lot at the beginning. In the first laps it really felt a big difference compared to the race simulation I did yesterday, and already on lap four I was on ‘map three’ in the engine braking that is usually put in for the three last laps.

“I had to stop using the rear brake because I was sliding a lot and I used a lot of rear brake always. I had to change a lot of things during the first five laps in the way I rode the bike and I was a second off the pace already, after a few laps, and 1.3 at one moment.

“Then it started to go better and when it came back it did what I expected. When you are in the slipstream the tyre heats up a lot, much more than when you are a second behind.

“When I came back I really tried to be close enough to make the move straight away but I could not do it. I am happy with the first race because we had a good pace, and a good race, with a good start. Still the qualifying could have been better. I am not a pro like Tom on a qualifying tyre.”

So far so very good for the supported Yamaha Ten Kate crew. “We are doing a good job with Yamaha, with the guys. I was in Toprak’s slipstream for nearly all the race so it was not that bad.”

On Sunday a fourth in the Superpole race was a real boon. “The Superpole Race was good, we were always close to the podium. Like yesterday, we were just missing a tenth or so per lap and I couldn’t quite get to the top three. Once I knew it was out of reach I just conserved my position for the second race.

“I had another good start but the conditions were really difficult. I was sliding a lot and then made a small mistake which took me out of the points. I’m disappointed for the team but we were right there again with the factory guys. We were always there throughout every session and we have to take the positives from the weekend. I’ve always enjoyed Portimao, so I’m looking forward to fighting for a podium again.”

The President of Yamaha Europe was in Portimao and with Baz linked to the factory team in 2021, in the media at least. Loris, who knows him and kept contact even when he had not been a Yamaha rider, said on Saturday at Jerez: “I know there is a place there but honestly I do not think the race this weekend will change anything for next year. But it always helps.

“All I want now is to be on the podium with Ten Kate and to bring them back on the podium. We have are showing that the decisions we have taken are also good, the development they are making is good. We do not have the same swingarm as them, the same engine, so it means that Ten Kate is doing a good job.”

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