Loris Baz has spoken of his excitement to sample KTM’s RC16 MotoGP machine, after the Frenchman was asked to stand in for the recovering Pol Espargaro at the British Grand Prix.

Now plying his trade in the World Superbike series with Althea BMW, Baz was contacted by KTM on Monday to see whether he would be available for this weekend’s action. In the middle of World Superbike’s extended summer break, he jumped at the chance.

And while Baz insisted Espargaro will be fit and ready to race at Misano in two weeks’ time, older brother Aleix offered an update which suggested the full-time KTM rider is playing the waiting game, with his left collarbone fracture more serious than first feared.

On how his deal to stand in at Silverstone came about, Baz said, “The first call was on Monday afternoon at 17:30. I said my manager Eric [Mahé] never usually calls me two times in a row. I was out on a jet-ski with some friends and family.

Silverstone MotoGP

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“When I came back I saw two calls and messages that said, ‘Urgent, call me back!’ I said, ‘OK, something has happened!’ The first question was whether I wanted to ride the KTM this weekend, and I said, ‘Of course!’ First, we needed to ask the team in Superbike and a massive thanks to Genesio [Bevilacqua – Althea BMW team owner] because he allowed me to ride this weekend.

“I just really wanted it. A big thanks to him. I’m really proud that KTM thought about me. That means I did a few things in the past that were not so bad. I’m happy to be at Silverstone because it’s like my second home. I will try and enjoy this as much as I can.”

On his expectations for the weekend ahead, Baz continued, “Yesterday we had dinner with my crew chief and I was telling him you can see how the bike improved last year. It started the season really behind us and then as the season went on they came back and overtook us. The improvement was big.

“I think this year they’ve improved a lot but everyone has improved in GPs. Last year we were saying it’s getting closer and it looked more like Moto3 than MotoGP but this season is incredible. I think the bike has improved. They’ve only had Yamaha riders testing the bike – Pol and Bradley [Smith]. It should be good for them because I rode the Ducati last year.”

In his eyes could this be more than a one-round appearance? “Honestly, it’s just one race,” said Baz. “Really I think Pol will be fit and I hope for him because as a rider you never hope to replace another one, to be honest. I wish for him to ride in Misano. The plan is to ride only here.”

Earlier in the afternoon, Aleix Espargaro offered an update on his brother. “[Pol is] Super angry,” he said. “Because after the crash, they said, don't worry, the collarbone is not a problem, he just needs to wait two weeks and it will heal up. And on Monday, he had a scan and the collarbone was worse, everything completely broken, and he said, 'if it was like this, why didn't you operate?'

“And he was very, very angry. But they say he's completely unfit, no way to race, and now he is thinking if he will get an operation or wait, because if he waits to race in Misano, it's not that clear that he can race in Misano, because if he doesn't have an operation on the collarbone, it's quite slow.

“The inflammation in the spine has gone down, and he hasn't had any more problems, so it looks OK. He never thought that the collarbone would be a problem, but it's a big problem now.”



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