Baz Scores first WSBK win plus podium and Sofuoglu keeps Supersport hopes alive
Loris Baz took his Kawasaki Racing Team Ninja ZX-10R to a race one victory and then second place in race two at Silverstone on a day when Tom Sykes defended his third place in the points table.
Baz won an incredibly confused first race, which was delayed as the weather went from reasonably dry to wet, after pushing his way to the front of a group of riders who were running slick tyres on a damp surface.
Risking a lot but riding assuredly Baz ignored that fact that this was only his 11th race start at this level of competition, and he became the second youngest rider in SBK history to win a full SBK race.
In race two, his 12th career SBK race, Baz finished second in strange circumstances. Running on wets on a track that got wetter and eventually covered in both oil and fuel from other rider's machines, Baz hunted down early leaders Sylvain Guintoli and Jakub Smrz. When in the lead on lap ten Baz was to fall but the race was stopped soon after, and thanks to the count back rules, it was called a result after only eight completed laps, placing Loris second overall. Half points were awarded, so Loris got ten points and not the 20 he wouldhave normally been awarded, with race winner Guintoli getting 12.5.
For Sykes the promise of much at Silverstone was washed away by the weather and simple bad luck. Having had his bike rebuilt before race day his set-up in race one did not last all the distance, and his lap one lead ended up as eighth place. In race two he fell on oil or fuel, which had been spilled on a wet track and with many other riders he persuaded Race Control to stop the race. He would finally be classified 12th.
Most importantly for Tom, his main championship rivals also had tough days so he kept third place overall. He is now 51.5 points behind the leader Max Biaggi, and 41 points behind second place rider Marco Melandri.
Superstock 1000 FIM Cup rider Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS) was only 0.2 seconds from the win after a strong ride from the Frenchman and a great fight from Bryan Staring (Kawasaki Team Pedercini) put him third. In the points Staring is third, Guarnoni fourth, with three rounds remaining.
Loris Baz: “It is really special to win and to win in England because I raced here in BSB last year for a while. I would also like to thank Kawasaki for believing in me. We made no mistakes in race one and finished up front. I think in the dry we are also really fast and we can fight for the first five or seven places. I chose the slick tyre because it was the best choice in race one.
The conditions in race one were crazy for a while and early on I was missing some grip but when I saw the rains coming I pushed hard even though it was quite wet but I stayed on the bike and I am really happy, as you can imagine, for this victory.I want to thank all the team and we are also thinking of Joan Lascorz, because this victory is for him now.
As for race two it was amazing to be here inside the top three again. The start of race two was not so wet so I just tried to keep my tyres, and then it started to move back up to Kuba and Sylvain, passed them both and them before falling, I think it was the right decision to take the race results back to lap eight because there was a lot of fuel on the track for two laps, and a lot of water. I am really happy and thanks to all my crew and Kawasaki again.”
Tom Sykes: “The general conditions in race two I was very annoyed about. For sure there was some contamination on the track, it was very greasy and I saw it for two laps and had tried to get the race red flagged. Lots of people crashed and it was red flagged on the lap I crashed.
Now, lots of people have been put in the results from previous laps. It could have been worse today but I am disappointed that we did not come away with more points when we could have done. We are still third in the championship so we will just forget this one and move on.”
In a hotly contested Supersport race, Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Lorenzini) left Silverstone with his championship lead trimmed a little after finishing in a battling fifth place, with two other top Kawasaki riders just behind him.
Kenan had been pushed off track early in the 16-lap contest and had to work hard to get close to the leading pack of four, but he was unable to close that gap and settled for fifth place. His injured left knee joint was not the problem in the race that he feared it may be.
Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Lorenzini) improved on his qualifying position to get seventh place after a strong ride through the field, and he now sits sixth overall in the standings.
Kawasaki Intermoto Step rider Fabien Foret was sixth in the race after not finding a perfect set-up due to weather conditions in qualifying and practice. he remains in the championship hunt in fourth place.
Kenan Sofuoglu: “My knee was OK but in the early laps some riders touched each other and I almost crashed, then had to run straight on. When I got back on I think I was in about 20th position. Then I pushed hard to come back. But the problem is that we did not make a real dry session all weekend so my bike was not really set-up for dry conditions. I pushed as much as possible but I made lots of risk.
I tried to close up to the front and I think I did so for a while, but there was not enough time. I eased it a bit on the last two or three laps. Anyway, only fifth but we made points and we can look forward to the next race.”
Sheridan Morais: “I had a good race really, to come back from 15th to seventh was not bad but I think we could have done a bit better had the conditions in practice not been so tricky this weekend. I am happy with the setup given that situation so the guys did a really good job again.”
Fabien Foret: “I have to admit that because of the conditions in practice we were running late in settings and so on. Also, starting from where I was starting from I gambled on a soft tyre, but it was just the wrong choice.”
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