Brad Baker hailed an 'emotional day', in which he held off a late, determined charge from Marc Marquez to collect his second Superprestigio title in Barcelona, after his unceremonious exit from the 2014 event.
The winner of the race on his first visit to Europe, Baker fell when practicing a year ago, severely injuring his shoulder and elbow, meaning he had to watch the action from the sidelines.
Bearing this in mind, Baker opted for a more measured approach on Saturday evening. After placing a surprising fourth in the first 'Open' class final heat, the 22-year old proceeded to win the other two, which was ultimately enough to beat countryman Jared Mees to the 'Open' title.
In the all-important 'Superfinal', Baker capitalised on the usual scramble through the first corner, emerging in front before stretching out a lead of over half a second to the chasing Marc Marquez.
Despite the double MotoGP champion's best efforts, Baker maintained a cool head to win the overall final by 0.1s. In the post race press conference 'The Bullet' was full of praise for the organisers of the event, and stated the victory was made all the sweeter when considering the injuries he suffered the year before.
“This has been an amazing trip to Barcelona,” said the American of his third trip across the Atlantic. “It's my 14th or 15th day here and I already feel like I have some amazing friends. To then go and be able to ride in a major event, I feel like I'm at home even though I'm so far away. It's just awesome.
“It's been an emotional day for me. Just a year ago I had a broken shoulder and a broken elbow. It probably took me five months to feel the way I was before. I'm still maybe even recovering a little now so to be here, holding the trophy above my head with the same arm is awesome.”
This was the second occasion in which Baker faced off against Marquez, as the pair collided in the first re-running of the event at the beginning of 2014. Although Baker emerged from both scraps on top, he reserved special praise for Marquez, whom he described as “a phenomenal racer.”
“I'd just like to give some credit to Marc,” he continued. “He's a phenomenal motorcycle racer. For him to pressure me all of the race is pretty nerve wracking. I couldn't make a mistake and tonight was so technical with the track. It was so dry and slick. You had to ride slow to go fast. If you were too aggressive you'd make a mistake.
“It was a great race. I didn't even have to look back to know he was there because every time he would get close the crowd would go wild. It was fun, the whole night was fun and the Superprestigio event, from the first lap is intense and it's by far one of my favourite races of the year."