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Loris Baz unmoved by heightened expectations
23 March 2013
Loris Baz insists he doesn't feel any extra pressure coming into his first full season of World Superbike Championship racing with Kawasaki, claiming a focus on achieving greater consistency will ensure results come his way.
Baz comes into the 2013 season on the back of a remarkable part-season campaign in 2012, the Frenchman belying his experience of Superbike racing to notch up an unexpected win at Silverstone in only his sixth WSBK meeting.
With a winter of testing now under his belt aboard the factory-supported Kawasaki ZX-10R, Baz has been concentrating on improving his consistency after acknowledging the speed of his 2012 campaign was peppered with too many crashes.
With this in mind, Baz says he has a lot more confidence on the bike and feels the results will come more easily to him as a result.
"We worked very well during the winter,” the former European Superstock 600 champion said. "Kawasaki have done a great job, the fork I'm using now gives me a much better feeling at the front. This was our biggest problem, but now I can push without ending up making mistakes."
"I don't feel any pressure on myself result-wise. I just need to be consistent and to avoid crashing so much as I did last year. If we keep doing our job the right way as we did in winter testing I'm sure the results will come."
In the garage, Baz says he has enjoyed working alongside Tom Sykes in the Kawasaki team, but feels the benefits of his experience is limited by their different riding styles.
"The relationship with Tom is excellent, we share our data and talk a lot. The problem is that our riding styles are completely different. That's why it was so difficult last year to find a proper set-up, we couldn't rely on his so we had to find our own settings for the bike. It took a bit more time, but we're heading in the right direction now."
Competing at Phillip Island for the first time, Baz struggled initially to crack the top ten during testing and free practice, but was impressive in the opening race as he battled his way to sixth at the chequered flag. However, while Baz is pleased with his pace over a race distance, he says he needs to focus on getting the most from qualifying.
"In Phillip Island Race 1 I showed I could battle at the front after moving off well from the grid,” he added. “A good starting position would help me keep up with the leading pack without forcing my way through in the early part of the race. The Aragon round will tell how much we have improved, as in testing we struggled a bit finding the right set-up for this very track."
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