MotoGP: Baz nearing full fitness for Motegi

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Loris Baz says he’s nearly back to full fitness as MotoGP goes into it’s three week trip to Japan, Australia and Malaysia as he continues his comeback from his second serious injury of the 2016 season.

Baz was knocked out of the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello back in May, damaging his foot, and then sustained a similar injury a second time at Silverstone when he collided with Pol Espargaró in the opening corners of the British Grand Prix.

And while he rode last time out at Aragon, the Frenchman says he’s now in much better shape thanks to the extra time to heal.

“I head to Japan really motivated. The season has been tough for me and with two consecutive injuries, I was physically and mentally exhausted. I was able to ride my bike at Aragon, but I was far from the physical shape you need to ride these bikes. But I’m more fit now, not at 100%, but much better than three weeks ago.

“To have three races in three weekends is perfect for me, as I’ll be able to get the rhythm back. Last year, my race at Motegi was not good, but I think that it will be different with Ducati. This bike is very stable under braking and although we don’t have winglets to avoid wheelies, I think that we can be competitive. We’ll see how the weather will be as rain is quite common in Motegi.”

But while Baz is looking to make a solid return form injury, teammate Hector Barbera has his eyes set on a bigger target at a track that he loves.

“I head to Japan really strong after two weeks of training. Motegi is one of my favourite tracks and I’ve been always fast there, so I’m ready to start the triple. It will be crucial to get a good result this weekend, because if you make a good start, then everything else comes easily.

“Last year I rode one of the best races of the season at Motegi and I got the Open Class lead back, so I’m really confident and looking forward to get a good result. The track has many hard braking zones and this is one of the strongest points of our bike, so we have to work hard from Friday to get the best package for Sunday.”

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer