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Loris Baz has taken his maiden World Superbike Championship victory in astonishing circumstances at Silverstone after producing an incredibly brave performance in terrible conditions.
A breathless race from start-to-finish as the riders contended with intermittent showers, the decision to declare the race as wet at the start meant steady rain in the closing stages left the riders with no choice but to stay out on track, despite their slick tyres.
As such, few could have predicted who would win, with the lead changing hands several times in the closing stages as the riders tentatively negotiated the slippery circuit.
Even without the shower, the race could have been considered one of the finest World Superbike races in history with repeated passing manoeuvres amongst a lead group that for much of the race contained at least ten riders.
Had the race remained dry, Carlos Checa
would have been favourite for a comfortable victory, the Spaniard recovering from a lap one scuffle with Baz and Leon Camier – which also put the latter wide – to work his way to the front and take the lead from Leon Haslam on lap four of 18.
Indeed, Checa had extended his advantage to more than three seconds by lap twelve, but suddenly appeared to slow, signalling the arrival of rain. Choosing not to be the rider testing the conditions first, Checa was swallowed up by the field very quickly, allowing Haslam to take over out front.
Crucially, with a wet race declared at the beginning, denoting that there was rain in the air but not on the circuit, there was no chance the race would be stopped. However, with only five laps remaining, there wasn't enough time to return to the pit lane to change bikes either.
As such, the race descended into who was more brave using slick tyres on an increasingly greasy surface. To their credit, the riders jostled cleanly amongst each other, but the disparity in cautiousness meant several unfancied riders were rising to the front.