Loris Baz is gearing up for his World Superbike championship return having joined Gulf Althea BMW as its sole rider for the 2018 campaign and is content with the progress made at the Jerez test adapting back to the series.

The French rider competed in World Superbikes between 2012 and 2014 before switching to MotoGP for the past three seasons and Baz returns to the production-based series for 2018 with experienced Italian squad Althea. The 24-year-old is a former race winner and pole sitter in WSBK with Kawasaki and is relishing his comeback to the championship.

Despite only being away for three seasons, Baz feels the series has changed hugely having seen the introduction of the Saturday race one schedule plus the new technical regulations on rev limiters and development freezes.

Baz, who completed a total of 161 laps over the two days of testing in Jerez with a best lap of 1m 40.707s, also says Pirelli’s developments with its race and qualifying tyres will take time to adapt to but is confident of gaining momentum throughout the 2018 season.

“The test has gone quite well, it’s been full on but we’ve learned a great deal,” Baz said. “I’m gradually getting to know the bike, the settings etc. and I’m quite pleased with the work we’ve got done here.

“I’m still struggling to lap fast with the fresh tyres and the soft solutions but I’m not particularly worried, it’s early days. We hope to improve further at both Portimao and then in Australia of course.”

Baz joins the majority of the World Superbike grid at the second two-day pre-season test at Portimao on the 28-29 January before heading to Phillip Island for the 2018 season opener.



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