Loris Baz: ‘Impact was so big, I thought my leg was off’

Loris Baz says the impact from his accident with Alex Lowes in Race 2 of the Indonesian WorldSBK round had him worried that he lost his leg.
Loris Baz , Indonesian WorldSBK, 3 March
Loris Baz , Indonesian WorldSBK, 3 March

After an earlier incident with Lowes and WorldSBK rookie Danilo Petrucci in the Superpole Race, Baz was again on the receiving end of contact as Lowes hit the BMW rider’s leg under braking.

As he attempted to make an overtake at turn 10, Lowes was unable to avoid the French rider’s dangling right leg, with Baz having to pull off-track immediately.

"I felt straight away that there was something broken on the leg," said Baz when speaking to WorldSBK.com. "Honestly, my first thought after the impact was checking if I still had the leg because the impact was so big, I thought my leg was off. 

"It wasn’t nice but after that, the medical team did a great job. We saw the fracture of the fibula straight away, in the high part close to the knee. 

"It was clear that there was some damage done to the ligaments of the ankle as they could see on the x-ray that there were more gaps in between the bones. I had a lot of pain, and the ankle was three times as big as normal. 

"They told me that I needed surgery for the ankle for sure, but I decided to come back home and have the surgery there, as I have a great specialist. In 2016, I think I had 20 or 21 fractures in the foot after my Turn 1 crash at Mugello."

What was a disastrous weekend in terms of results, albeit Baz was performing well at the time of his two incidents, the lack of overall competitiveness from BMW has been very apparent in 2023.

Only Michael Van Der Mark has claimed a top six finish which came in Race 1 at Mandalika, while Scott Redding, Garrett Gerloff and Baz have often been fighting one-another for tenth or lower.

"It’s been tough, but we’ve only had two rounds," added Baz. "I thought all winter that we need to go racing to see where we are. Phillip Island was really difficult; apart from Michael who was riding really well and had something more than us, no BMW was faster than the other one with three completely different setups. 

"In Indonesia, honestly, I felt a bit better straight away and I felt a bit better on Saturday. We made a good step and then in Race 1, after a Superpole, I lost a lot of time at Turn 1 with Rinaldi’s incident, but I was able to come back closer to the top ten and with a lot of inputs, knowing where to improve. 

Loris Baz , race 1, Indonesian WorldSBK, 4 March
Loris Baz , race 1, Indonesian WorldSBK, 4 March

"In Australia, we were really far off, and we didn’t know where to improve. On Sunday in Indonesia, both times when we had incidents, I was in the top six and it is somewhere I haven’t been since the first half of last year."

Using the example of Kawasaki who are now struggling after several years of success, Baz believes BWM are trying to make a breakthrough at a time where Ducati and Yamaha have taken the championship to new heights. 

The former MotoGP rider said: "Everyone in BMW and in the team is working really hard and nobody gave up. You can see with Kawasaki, we’re not the only ones struggling, as Yamaha and Ducati are putting the level so high – especially Ducati. 

"That’s good for the Championship as they’re faster bikes than last year and it’s so tight. It’s super easy to look stupid further down but you’re going faster than last year. 

"The level is much denser. I feel the improvement and we’ve made a step, but we haven’t done a big enough step, but keep in mind that the winter was really short. I believe a lot in the project, and we’ll get there for sure."

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