Loris Baz says he has revitalised motivation to put a frustrating 2016 behind him and after enjoying a winter period to fully recover he's ready to show what he's capable of in MotoGP.
The French rider had a nightmare campaign last year blotted by painful offs; starting with a scary Michelin blowout at Sepang during pre-season testing, followed by a broken foot at Mugello and then a fractured tibia at Silverstone meant he missed four races in total in 2016.
In between his spells out injured Baz was still able to demonstrate his skills with fourth place in Brno and fifth place at Sepang, albeit both races run in the wet, which acted a comforters to a tricky campaign.
Now injury-free and fully fit, Baz is relishing the opportunity of a full pre-season testing schedule with Avintia Racing as he switches to the Ducati GP15 for 2017.
“Everything went perfectly well and now I have a brand new foot,” Baz said. “The last two tests I confirmed that I still know how to ride a bike. I hope to have more luck during this season, but I don't want to set any goals, because last year we did and were not able to achieve them.
“I think that we have to go step by step and try to enjoy riding the bike. If we can do that, we will be fast and if we are fast, everybody will be happy.
“So we have to go test by test and race by race, because last year we did really well during the winter test, but then the season was a disaster. I want to be ready for the first race in Qatar and this is what we will work for during the winter tests.”
Baz welcomes new chief engineer Paolo Zavalloni to his Avintia Racing garage for 2017, with the pair first working together in Valencia at the post-season tests.
The former World Superbike race winner says the two have been in close contact over the winter and feels they are equally motivated to start the new season strongly by adapting Baz's riding style to the GP15 having seen team-mate Hector Barbera impress on a two-year old machine last season.
“I felt really good and this was a positive surprise,” he said. “I'd seen Paolo in the past and we hadn't spoken before, but from the first moment we connected well and he seems to be very motivated.
“I like the fact that he listens to my comments and that he always tries to find solutions to improve the bike and to adapt it to my riding style. He came to Rossi's Ranch and he told me that he analysed all the data from the test during the winter break and that he has some ideas in mind for the upcoming test.
“I can see he's motivation is high and that he looks forward to start working at Sepang next week as much as myself. I like his excitement. The whole team is very motivated.”