WSBK Rider of the Year vote: 9th

You voted in your thousands, but there can only be one winner... This is's top ten countdown to the 2012 World Superbike Rider of the Year as voted for by you!
9. Loris Baz

Nationality: French
Team: Kawasaki Racing
Bike: Kawasaki ZX-10R
Wins: 1
Podiums: 3
Championship points: 122
Championship position: 13th

An eye-catching part-season in the British Superbike Championship aside, though the decision to hand likeable youngster Loris Baz a full-factory Kawasaki for much of the 2012 World Superbike Championship was definitely popular, there were still ripples of surprise when he was picked to helm the race-winning bike.

Fast forward six months and not only has Baz proved any doubters wrong (this one included), but he has rightly earned himself a full-time ride with Kawasaki in 2013, not to mention a lofty status as a potential future champion.

Promoted in the wake of the horrifying accident that left Joan Lascorz's tragically paralysed, while Baz may not have seemed the most obvious choice to get his break on the international stage, it was an opportunity he nonetheless grasped with a maturity that belied his 19 years of age.

Initially hampered by a lack of mileage on the bike, Baz's first weekends on the ZX-10R were fairly unspectacular, but they - crucially - did show notable progress.

Top ten finishes in two of his first eight races were commendable, though it was only when Baz was able to get some testing miles under his belt that he really began to flourish.

Indeed, Baz would return from the summer break looking aggressive and at one with the bike, a bond that would see him crack his podium duck at Brno with a run to third position.

At the time, he said it the result was beyond his wildest dreams, but it would be almost forgotten in the wake of his stunning performance at Silverstone, a weekend that saw him claim a wholly unexpected victory in the slippery conditions that otherwise spooked his more experienced rivals into being more cautious.

A few hours later he looked on course to make it a double in sodden conditions, only to fall whilst in the lead. Fortunately for him, an imminent red flag and the subsequent count-back would give him second place, thus affirming his soaring reputation.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Baz couldn't quite scale the same heights over the remainder of the season and his newfound status as a rising star magnified the odd average result or costly mistake.

Tagged as: Kawasaki , Loris Baz

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Baz, Jerez tests November 2012
Baz, Jerez tests November 2012
Baz, crashed bike, French WSBK Race 2 2012
Baz, French WSBK Race 2 2012
Baz, French WSBK Race 2 2012
Baz, French WSBK Race 2 2012
Baz, French WSBK 2012
Baz, German WSBK 2012
Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing Team, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing Team, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Tom Sykes, Kawasaki Racing Team, [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Jake Dixon, RAF Reserves Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Jake Dixon, RAF Reserves Kawasaki [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Jonathan Rea and Sykes celebrate 100 Kawasaki wins in WSBK, WSBK Race2, Donington WSBK 2017
100 Kawasaki wins, WSBK Race2, Donington WSBK 2017
Jonathan Rea and Sykes celebrate 100 Kawasaki WSBK wins, WSBK Race2, Donington WSBK 2017
Kawasaki fans, WSBK Race1, Thai WSBK 2017
Rea`s Kawasaki exhaust, Australian WSBK, 2017

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Ivor Bueb - Unregistered

December 22, 2012 11:33 PM

I've been talking up Baz since I saw him race at Croft, with a little luck I'm sure he'll go far. Better than Biaggi? Not this year, but Baz has plenty of time yet.

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