Loris Baz has opened his 2014 World Superbike account with a sixth career podium as he made a successful return to racing more than five months after his last WSBK outing.

Having embarked on a long road to recovery after the final rounds of the 2013 season were scuppered by a back injury, Baz has shown flashes of speed on the Kawasaki ZX-10R in the build-up to the races, but crashes have also taken their toll on the youngster.

With this in mind, Baz's hard fought run to fifth in race one, where he prevailed in a lengthy tussle with Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes, felt like a victory for him.

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However, more was to come from Baz in race two as a strong start saw him dicing for the lead, the Frenchman even nosing ahead at one stage before opting to shadow countryman Sylvain Guintoli with a view to conserving his tyres.

In the end no showdown would occur as a red flag brought about an early end to proceedings, but Baz was still thrilled with his podium and second place in the standings.

"We changed just a little thing on the bike for race two and then opted for a new front tyre. So to score second place and then leave here second in the world championship is really good. In race one I was really happy with a top five and it felt like a podium. When I crashed again on Friday I really did not think I could make it this week but it worked out well on race day.

"I wanted to go really fast in the beginning of race two and I saw that my pace was really good. I was even faster than Sylvain in the lead, but I always rode with the idea to save the tyres. My bike was feeling great. Tom was coming back and I am sure the end of the race would have been a great fight if it had gone full distance."