French rider Loris Baz showed strong pace on Friday at Estoril but suffered a crash during Free Practice 2 before returning to the track later in the session
As the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship descended onto the Circuito Estoril for the first time in 27 years, Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) made headlines as he showed strong pace on Friday at the Pirelli Estoril Round despite a crash in the second practice session as he looks to follow on his two podiums from France at Estoril.
Baz was third in the opening Free Practice session before finishing the afternoon session in third again despite a crash in the early stages of the session; where he damaged a water hose on his bike and was unable to get his bike back to the pits. His team were able to pull off a repair job to send Baz out with around 10 minutes to go where he went out on used tyres; able to set fast times in the closing stages of the session despite that.
It continues a strong upturn in form for Baz who has taken four podiums throughout the 2020 season, including two at his home race in the French Round two weeks ago. Baz is in a fight with Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Team GOELEVEN) for the Independent Riders’ title and will be hoping he can overturn a 31-point deficit to the Italian to claim the title.
Discussing his day, Baz said: “It was really good from the beginning. I learnt the track really fast and I enjoyed it. It’s the kind of track I enjoy a lot to ride but it’s a really hard one. A made a small mistake into Turn 1 and crashed but was able to restart at the end. It’s challenging to find the right setup, the right gearing, because we don’t have any experience or a teammate, I think it’s the same for everybody here today.”
Baz does not believe missing out on some running in the 50-minute session will hamper him too much throughout the remainder of the weekend, saying: “Honestly, I don’t think it’s a big problem. For sure, I wanted to have more laps on the tyres to see how they would react, but I expected this track to be a lot more challenging for the tyre wear and we are not so bad.”
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