Reale Avintia Racing rider Loris Baz finished ninth at the Grand Prix of Austria at the spectacular Spielberg circuit today. The 24-year-old French rider started the race from the fourth row of the grid following an excellent performance on Saturday, when he went straight in Q2 and was 12th fastest in qualifying. After the start he gained some places and he battled for three laps with Andrea Iannone for eighth position. Baz was leading the second group during a big part of the race. With nine laps to go, he tried to get Alvaro Bautista under control, but the Spaniard had a better pace and Loris finished the race in ninth place.
His Reale Avintia teammate Hector Barbera struggled with tyre performance issues from the first laps. The Spanish started the race from fifth row, two spots behind Baz. He had a good start but lost many places after a contact with Pol Espargaro on the main straight. It took him six laps to recovered to 14th place and he then started a big battle with Jack Miller and Scott Redding, but he struggled with rear grip problems and finally finished the race in 17th place.
“I’m very happy with my race. It was difficult to choose the tyres before the start, because with the rise of temperature we didn’t know how the soft front would work in the race. I had a decent start, but I lost concentration a little bit when I saw Petrucci moving on the grid. The first lap was good and I was able to pass some riders. I lost too much time trying to overtake Iannone, but then I kept a good rhythm and I managed the gap with the riders behind me really well. Then Alvaro arrived and he was faster and I lost eighth place. But I defended my position from Mika’s attack on the last few laps and I’m happy for that. I think this was my best race in MotoGP, nobody crashed in the front and I finished less than 20 seconds behind the winner. My team did a great job over the weekend and this it the best way to celebrate my Dad’s birthday.”
“The rider who was in front of me got stuck at the start and I was forced to move to the left, but Pol came faster from the back and we had a big contact. We were lucky not to crash. Then I saw that he had to retire, I don’t know if it was because of the incident and if it was because of that, I want to say sorry. Then I was able to recover, I had a good battle with Miller and Redding, but after seven laps my rear tyre dropped and I struggled a lot with spinning. We don’t know why we had this problem, maybe it was because of the higher temperature that affected the tyre performance. But we didn’t have any problem during the weekend and it was strange”.