Buriram. After the season opener at Australian Phillip Island, the Gulf Althea BMW team was in action at the second round of the 2018 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) at the weekend. This time, the Italian team, with Loris Baz (FRA) riding, took to the track at Chang International Circuit in Buriram. Baz finished the two Thailand round races in 11th and 12th positions respectively.
In tropical conditions with temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius, Baz was eighth on his BMW S 1000 RR in the first free practice. In the following sessions, however, he failed to reach the top-ten positions. In Superpole 1, the French rider qualified 15th on the grid. In both races, Baz made up several places to finish 11th on Saturday and 12th on Sunday and collect nine more world championship points. After the two events in Australia and Thailand, the WorldSBK now begins its European season with the next races being held on 14th and 15th April at MotorLand Aragón near Alcañiz (ESP).
“In Superpole we had an issue with the first tyre and then on the second I made a mistake, losing valuable tenths and missing out on SP2. In Saturday’s 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. On Sunday, we tried something in the warm-up which felt better but it didn’t work in the race. Overall, not a good weekend for us. We need to change the way we work as we are not improving as much as our rivals throughout the weekend.”