French World Superbike racer Loris Baz says he’s prepared to be thrown back into the deep end of the MotoGP world championship this weekend, deputising for injured Red Bull KTM rider Pol Espargaro after a six-month absence from the paddock.
Relaxing on the beach on Monday when he tweeted to say how bored he was of WSB’s two-month summer break, it took only a few hours before he was preparing to line up on the British Grand Prix grid this weekend!
“I tweeted on Monday morning about being bored and then I got a phone call form my manager on Monday afternoon! I was out with some friends in the sea riding jetskis, so I rang him back and he asked ‘would you like to ride a KTM this week?’ I knew it was going to be hard, but though it’s going to be, I still had to try.
“I thought we might struggle with my current team to get their permission and that it might be difficult to get their permission, it was really easy with [team boss] Genesio and that was very cool from him. We weren’t planning on testing in Portimao so it didn’t disturb that, but it’s still very cool of him because we needed his approval.”
And while some have questioned the Austrian manufacturer’s decision to stick the ex-Avintia Ducati rider on the bike, he says that he believes that he was the best-prepared candidate for the bike.
“I think for KTM the situation wasn’t easy and it wasn’t easy to find anyone with more experience with a MotoGP bike than I have. It’s good for them and good for me; if they even call me and ask it means that I’ve done good things in the past in MotoGP. I was proud to get the call to ask if I was free.”
But while he might be experienced in the championship, the Frenchman says that despite that he’s well aware of the challenges ahead of him this weekend.
“The biggest challenge has been to sort leathers and helmets and boots! I spoke with Alpinestars on Tuesday to tell them I needed leathers by Friday and all they said was ‘next time, you can leave it a little bit later for us!’ But in a way, there’s no pressure because it’s going onto a new bike with no testing and I can just try to enjoy it and do the best I can.
“I’ve got no idea what to expect from the weekend really. We just need to see what the bike is like when I get on it and how long it’ll take me to get back into the pace of this type of bike and this tyre. It’s a different world and it’s been six weeks since I was on a race bike in Misano. But I still remember how to ride a MotoGP bike and it’s not that long since Valencia last year.”