After close to a year away from World Superbike action, Loris Baz returned in style by claiming sixth place in race one at Jerez. 

Baz, who finished fourth in his debut MotoAmerica campaign, was standing in for GoEleven Ducati rider Chaz Davies and will do so again in Portimao. 

Davies was injured during a race two crash in Catalunya eight days ago which presented Baz with an unlikely return to the class.

Baz looked strong throughout practice and qualifying before converting that into P6 - just ten seconds away from race winner Toprak Razgatlioglu. 

As the conditions got hotter for Sunday’s second feature race, Baz wasn’t quite able to match his morning efforts, however, the Frenchman still managed ninth after an intense duel with Michael Van Der Mark. 

Baz tried to make a last lap move happen but was unable to find ‘the possibility’ to do so. 

Speaking after his return, but also after the sad passing of WorldSSP300 rider Dean Berta Vinales on Saturday, Baz said: "It was a strange day, after what happened yesterday. It was not easy to try to focus in race one, having a minute of silence just before it. We were just racing for him, so the only thing is to try to have fun doing what we love and I came for this, I came here to have fun. 

"I had a lot of fun all the weekend, so I just have to thank Ducati and Go Eleven, because they just gave me one of the best weekends of the year, in terms of fun I had on the bike. 

"Race one was strong, I had a really bad start, but then I had a strong pace and I managed to come back and fight for top Independent; it was a big surprise, but I enjoyed a lot. 

"I think this morning we didn't have the right tyre choice, but now, after race two, I am not so sure about it. In race two it was a bit harder, much warmer, it was the first time I rode the bike with Pirelli tyre in these conditions. 

"I tried to save the tyre from lap one, but I think it was not really useful. In the last lap I tried to make a move on Michael Van Der Mark, but I didn't find the possibility. 

"I am happy, we are just ten seconds away from the leading in race one and twelve in race two, that's pretty amazing. I'm looking forward to Portimao, a track that I like even more than Jerez, so we will try again there!"

For Baz, these two rounds - could be three if Davies is not back in time for Argentina are a prime opportunity to put himself back in the WorldSBK shopping window. 

Davies announced on the eve of last weekend his intention to retire following the 2021 campaign, and with Baz already putting a race weekend under his belt, an impressive one at that, a return to the series in 2022 with GoEleven Ducati looks like a distinct possibility.