Loris Baz says he was delighted to be leaving the opening round of the 2014 World Superbike Championship second in the overall standings after an otherwise troubled week in Australia.
Despite Baz and Kawasaki Racing team-mate Tom Sykes showing superb pace in the run up to the curtain raiser at Phillip Island during pre-season testing, both riders found themselves struggling for front running pace once the race weekend got underway.
Baz's issues were compounded further by three accidents that knocked his confidence, though he did have the boost of beating defending champion Sykes during a difficult first race determined by a poor tyre choice.
Despite this, changes to the bike between races saw both riders come out fighting in race two, with Baz picking up a second place finish, once more ahead of Sykes, much to his relief.
"I'm very happy with the way we've opened this season because things were not looking too good before the races,” he told the WSBK website. “Our winter testing had been great but once we got to Phillip Island, for some reason we had a difficult time. I fell three times early in the week and by Friday our confidence was a bit lost.
“On Saturday, we tried to get this confidence back, even if we didn't really succeed in the Superpole, but then we managed to raise our performance for race day. We did not choose the right tyre for the first race but I took a good start for the second one and got back to the level we were at during the preseason.
“In the end it was positive. It's a shame that we've had all these problems during the week but I'm glad that we could perform so well in the races."
“It was a bit difficult at the beginning of the week because we had these three falls, each with no warning. Now we know why we fell but back then it was not easy. I was lucky not to get injured and by Friday, we thought that finishing both races in the top five would make a satisfying start of the season.
“In the end I was feeling very good on Sunday and when we changed the tyre for the second race, I knew that I could get a good result."