Loris Baz says he is satisfied to get his 2017 MotoGP World Championship season off to a point-scoring start as a tribute to fellow French riders Adrien Protat and Anthony Delhalle following their tragic deaths this month.
A Frenchman, who started his third season in MotoGP - and his second with Avintia Ducati - in Qatar finished 12th ahead of team-mate Hector Barbara and 20secs down on the leaders, his smallest margin to the top since joining the Spanish team.
“It was not an easy race, but at the end the result was good for us. I started the season in the points and, the most important for me is that I crossed the finish line 20 seconds behind the leader, and this is the best we have done since I'm racing with this team. I had an arm-pump problem in my right forearm from the beginning of the race.
“We have to find out what happened because maybe it was the brake that was too hard, or maybe that I was losing the front almost in every corner, but in the final laps I was not able to fight with Lorenzo as I could not even open full gas on the straight.
The result came after Baz was informed earlier in the day of the death of fellow French Superbike rider Protat, who died on Sunday after a fall whilst competing in a race at Le Mans. It also comes just weeks after renowned endurance racer Anthony Delhalle was killed during a test session at Nogaro.
“Overall I'm happy, after all the delays and cancellations this weekend, we started the season with a good result, that I want to dedicate to Anthony and Adrien.�