SBK 2018 - A challenging race for Gulf Althea BMW in BURIRAM


Buriram (Thailand), Saturday 24 March 2018

The first World Superbike race of the weekend in Buriram, Thailand proved to be a challenging one for the Gulf Althea BMW Racing Team, with rider Loris Baz crossing the line eleventh at the Chang International Circuit.

Superpole 1: during the 15 minutes available to them, Baz and his technicians worked hard to obtain a solid grid position. Having completed a total of 7 laps, the quickest of which a 1’34.477, Baz concluded fifth, translating into a fifth row start on the race grid.

SBK - Race 1: from fifteenth place on the grid, the Frenchman got away well, making up several positions right away to place twelfth. After a strong initial phase, Baz then struggled a little to keep pace with those immediately ahead of him during the central part of the race, lapping in fourteenth position. Improving in the final stages, the Frenchman moved back up to eleventh, but was unable to go any further considering the gap that had meanwhile opened up between him and the group ahead. Baz thus crossed the line in eleventh position.

"A very hard day. We didn’t make that step we were looking for. In Superpole, we had an issue with the first tyre and then with the second I made a mistake, losing valuable tenths and missing out on SP2. In the race, I didn’t make a great start but then was fast through the first corners. Unfortunately though, I wasn’t able to conserve the tyre in the opening stages, which meant I struggled during the final part of the race. We are having difficulty with the electronics and, as a result, with the tyre. I am happy with the front of the bike, but not the rear. We need to make a step tomorrow morning, and then a bigger one ahead of the next round.”

Superbike - Race 2 – fifteenth on the grid, Baz earned a position off the line. In difficulty with both the front and rear of his BMW S 1000 RR, the Frenchman struggled to maintain a fast pace, oscillating between 13th and 14th position for the best part of the 20-lap race. In the final stages, he was able to gain one more position, thus closing today’s race in twelfth place.
After the first two rounds, Baz places ninth in the overall standings with 21 points, while BMW, with 21 points, lies sixth in the manufacturer’s standings.

The Gulf Althea BMW Racing team will be back on track from 13 to 15 April, at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain, for round 3 of the championship.

"We tried something in the warm-up which felt better but it didn’t work in the race. The advantage I had with the front yesterday was not apparent today, it was locking up and, in addition, there was also the rear issue to contend with too. I tried to be as consistent as I could and came close to finishing with the same result as yesterday. Overall, not a good weekend for us though. We need to change our work method, as we are not improving enough throughout the weekend, while our rivals do so.”

GINESIO BEVILACQUA: “Baz showed that he’s still not 100% fit, suffering particularly through the right-handers, of which there are many at Buriram. Aside from this, there’s also the electronics issue, an area in which we need to improve further. The competition is taking steps forward and we are unfortunately still in a stalemate situation. We need to see what to do together with our German colleagues; we’ve scheduled a series of tests to try and resolve this problem. For now, the races are falling below our expectations so we hope for a timely solution, both physical and technical, that will help us to improve our overall package.”





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