Day 1: Baz takes P6 in free practice
A very strong first day for Loris Baz in the Algarve “playground”! Great pace, always in the top positions, excellent work even with used tyres.
For FP 1, the French rider and the team chose to start with a bike very similar to the one they left a few days ago in Jerez. Loris had the main objective of testing the Ducati V4-RS and Pirelli tyres on the Portimao track, without making too many set-up changes. From the very first laps he immediately felt the bike “in his hands”, so much so that he entered the top of the standings and improved lap by lap. In less hot conditions the Ducati reacts very well, so much so that Baz manages to finish in the first five places, just two tenths from the first!
Free Practice 1:
P 1 J. Rea 1.41.542
P 2 G. Gerloff + 0.141
P 3 A. Lowes + 0.161
P 5 L. Baz + 0.218
In view of FP 2, the track heats up, reaching over 45°C of asphalt. Thus Loris tested a new tyre solution at the rear, simulating almost an entire race. After a few steps to become familiar with the reaction of the Pirelli carcass, he begins to push and constantly improves in almost all the thirteen steps he has made. In the warm, the set-up is still not optimal, but compared to Race 2 in Jerez, Portimao has been a significant step forward.
Free Practice 2:
P 1 J. Rea 1.41.466
P 2 A. Lowes + 0.191
P 3 L. Haslam + 0.250
P 6 L. Baz + 0.508
Loris Baz (Rider):
“It was a good day, easier than in Jerez because I already had some references to the bike. I immediately felt good on it, in FP 1 I had a good pace, then I also tried a new tyre with which I had a good feeling. In the afternoon we did a long run with the same tyre and it went well. In the heat I still struggle a little, because I’m not very used to the movement of the Pirellis; every time it slides, I feel like I’m falling, instead it’s just the normal “life” of the tyre. The pace, however, was good, so let’s try to continue like this tomorrow!”
Loris gets third place at his second 2021 WSBK race
What a day for Go Eleven, what a day for Loris! An unexpected podium (at least before FP1) at his second race in the 2021 World Superbike!
Starting from FP 3, the race pace shown was excellent, the feeling improved lap after lap, keeping the drop of the rear tyre under control. The low temperatures, however, risked to change the values in the field, providing not too precise indications on the behavior in view of the race.
Free Practice 3:
P 1 J. Rea 1.40.553
P 2 T. Razgatlioglu + 0.046
P 3 A. Locatelli + 0.420
P 7 L. Baz + 0.663
In Superpole, Loris immediately struggled to adapt to the Pirelli qualifying tyres, which were different from those of last year. With both attempts he took a few corners to understand the reaction of the bike, especially in the first sector, where he left almost half a second. At the end of the session he finishes in ninth position, third row, about a second from the pole! It’s a regret not having found the perfect lap that could have guaranteed the second row, but still not a bad position in terms of the race.
P 1 T. Razgatlioglu 1.40.219
P 2 J. Rea + 0.305
P 3 L. Haslam + 0.561
P 9 L. Baz + 1.165
Race 1, race 1 was one of the most exciting of the last years of the Superbike World Championship. Close fight for all the top positions, hard breakings, twists, and “old style” one-on-one. Loris did an incredible Race; starting well keeping his position, he started in pursuit of the group for the podium. In the first few laps he tried to save the tyre, with clean lines, then, from the middle of the race, he started his comeback. First on Gerloff and Locatelli, then he enters the fight between Haslam and Rinaldi, managing to pass them both in turn 1. From behind comes strong Bautista, who manages to put himself in third place and sets the pace, closing the challenge for the podium between himself and the Go Eleven Frenchman. In the last two laps, the two overtake each other several times, but in the end, in turn 15, the Honda Spaniard loses the front and crashes. Loris concludes third, with an aggressive race, always on the attack, proving that he already has the V4-RS in his hands. It’s only the second round, the third race on the Ducati Go Eleven, but he seems to know it perfectly. What a ride, Loris!
P 1 T. Razgatlioglu 34’01.250
P 2 S. Redding + 0.691
P 3 L. Baz + 10.628
Tomorrow, two more races available, in Superpole Race it will be complicated due to the starting position from the third row, but in Race 2 there will be plenty of time to recover!
And probably on the Portuguese Sunday the weather could change everything, especially for the first sessions. Let’s see what happens in the Portimao roller coaster!
Loris Baz (Rider):
“What a beautiful day! So far it’s a really nice weekend, like Jerez, but slowly I get used to the bike more. We went strong in FP 1, FP 2, FP 3, then after qualifying I was angry with me because I didn’t show the potential of the Q. A little bit I expected it, however, because these tyres are new and it takes a lot of kilometers to understand the reaction. The third row was my best, but I knew I had an excellent pace in the race; I tried to save the tyre as much as possible, but, even keeping something in my pocket, I was able to comeback. I had so much fun. Then Alvaro came back and we started a good battle; I was stronger in the second and third sectors, he in the first and fourth, but he took many more risks, often closing the front. On the last lap I passed him, then he passed me again and closed all the lines well; I then tried to make him feel the pressure and the engine on him, and in the last corner he went long and closed the front. It is truly a beautiful podium, I am happy and I thank all those who have allowed these two races; the Go Eleven Team, Ducati, the whole team in America, which for sure is following me. I’m happy to do these results here with my friends, my family… And tomorrow we’ll try again!”
Is it a dream or reality?
Three podiums in three races, three different conditions, but Loris is always on the podium. In Superpole Race in the wet, in Race 2 in the dry and after a hard and long battle. WHAT RACES, WHAT A HEART!
In the morning, upon awakening, the Portimao track was wet, with a light drizzle, that lasted until the Superpole Race approximately. In the Warm Up Loris was able to test the Ducati in the Superbike version with rain for the first time. He immediately felt at ease, showing himself very fast from the first laps. Towards the end of the session he slowed down his pace to avoid further risks, considering times are really closed to the beginning of the Superpole Race!
P 1 M. Van Der Mark 1.55.355
P 2 L. Baz + 0.135
P 3 L. Haslam + 0.666
Just before the Superpole Race, the sun comes out over Portimao and the track begins to dry. Too much water on the track, again, and all the riders start with the Rain. Team Go Eleven and Loris Baz choose soft tyres; the French rider immediately starts strong from ninth on the grid and overtakes a couple of riders in the first corners. On the second lap Michael Rinaldi crashes right in front of Loris and to avoid him, he loses two positions on Gerloff and Bassani. From then on the comeback begins, attacking Locatelli, Bassani, Gerloff and Haslam. Once in third position he tries to catch up with Scott, but the two were on similar times. In the end Haslam comes back closer to Loris, using the hard tyre, but just as he attacks Loris, the Englishman loses the front of his Honda and ends up on the ground. Baz ends his race in third position, putting him in the front row for Race 2!
P 1 M. Van Der Mark 19’17.562
P 2 S. Redding + 5.330
P 3 L. Baz + 7.066
In Race 2 Loris starts from the front row, thanks to the podium obtained in the Superpole Race. A few moments before the start, a problem with the traffic light forces the riders to delay the start. Tyre warmers on, 3 minutes of waiting to fix the problem and starts again with the starting procedure! Loris had a bad start, then in the first laps he didn’t trust the tyres too much, fearing that the minutes of waiting on the grid (where, it is not allowed to enter with the generators) had cooled the Pirellis too much. Furthermore, the wind was much stronger and more annoying than yesterday, so much so that it caused a lot of movement on the Ducati V4-RS. Little by little, with the laps going on, Loris found more and more confidence and, from eighth position, he came back with great strength. He even set a lap under 42, which pushed him in the slipstream of Locatelli, recovering almost a second per lap on the Italian. On the thirteenth lap, in turn one, he overtakes Locatelli, but Bautista manages to pass both of them. Loris and Alvaro overtake each other several times in the last laps, until they come in contact in turn 5; the Spaniard goes down and Loris finishes on the podium, again!
P 1 J. Rea 32’21.137
P 2 S. Redding + 5.425
P 3 L. Baz + 8.905
A dream, this weekend in Portimao was a kind of dream, both for the Go Eleven team and for Loris Baz, who arrived from America without expectations, and found himself on the podium three times with stunning races and battles. Amazing what he did as a substitute rider, with just one race to adapt, in Jerez.
Today anyone has realized who he is and what Loris can achieve, if put in the right condition, and more than anyone else he deserves a saddle in the World Superbike Championship!
Loris Baz (Rider):
“It seems like a dream, an incredible weekend! In the wet this morning I did a good job, but I think the soft choice at the rear was wrong. I still managed to get on the podium, though! I had a lot of fun in Race 2, the team did an exceptional job to try to give me a better bike than yesterday, one that took advantage of the grip much more. That’s a pity, I lost a lot of time in the first few laps, but I didn’t know what to expect after being 5 minutes on the grid without a generator. I also got a bad start, Van Der Mark’s bike was smoking and I didn’t want to stay in the slipstream. But I knew I had a good pace, I tried to stay calm and come back without making mistakes. In the end, Alvaro and I had a good battle, I am sorry for the contact at the end, I apologize to him, but it was a tough race, I also had contact with Rinaldi many times; that’s racing! Thanks to Ducati, Go Eleven, everyone who allowed me to show that I have the potential to stay in this paddock! ”
Denis Sacchetti (Team Manager):
“I have few words to describe what Baz and the team have done in just two races, they have been super! I think no one expected these results, from a rider who makes a substitution and who used different tyres in his championship. Three podiums in one weekend, in both dry and wet conditions, is magic! This is the result of motivation and hunger for results, as well as a very fast learning speed. What happened in Race 2 with Bautista, I think is a normal race accident, Alvaro went wide to pass Loris and Loris crossed the line on the inside. On the way out there was a contact because Alvaro was trying to return on his line. Honda made a complaint, Team Go Eleven, too, now the FIM will make a decision. We are enjoying these results for the moment!”
UPDATE: The result of Race 2 was decided that Baz should be demoted to 4th place following the complaint, made by Honda Racing Team and Team Go Eleven.
The update does not change anything in the magical weekend experienced in Portugal; the decision of the race direction must be respected, whatever it is.