It has been announced that Loris Baz will take part in the 2018 Superbike World Championship alongside Althea BMW Racing Team. This will mark his return in the World SBK after a three year break, period during which the Frenchman competed in MotoGP.
Loris Baz made his debut in the WorldSBK back in 2008, in the European Superstock 600 class, winning the championship at the very first attempt.
He debuted in the premier class in 2012. Only 19 years old at that time, he impressed by winning the first race of the British round held at Silverstone.
Having demonstrated his talent right from his debut in the Superbike class, Baz did not disappoint in the following year, 2013, as he was a constant presence in the top 7, also adding a second career win, again on the Silverstone Circuit. Unfortunately, he missed the last 10 races of the season and finished 8th.
2014 was even better for the Frenchman, as he scored 9 podium finishes throughout the season and ended 5th overall.
His performances did not go unnoticed in the MotoGP paddock and Baz was offered a chance to perform on the World s biggest stage in 2015 alongside Forward Racing. He did well for a rookie, finishing the season as the 2nd best rookie (behind Maverick Vinales), with a best result of 4th.
2016 brought a change for Loris Baz as he moved to Avintia Racing, where he rode a Ducati Desmosedici GP14. He managed to race in only 14 races, missing the other 4 due to injuries. However, he mantained his reputation as a wet weather specialist as he finished 4th in Brno and 5th in Malaysia.
He remained with Avintia Racing in 2017 and rode a Ducati Desmosedici GP15. His teammate, Hector Barbera, was offered the GP16 model. However, Baz managed to end the championship ahead of Barbera (Baz finished 18th overall, while Barbera was 20th), but the team considered his results unsatisfying. As a result, he was not offered a contract for the 2018 season.
With the MotoGP grid completed, Baz started looking for a spot on the WorldSBK grid and he has now found it. The Althea BMW Racing Team has lined up on the SBK grid in 2017 with Jordi Torres and Raffaele de Rosa. Torres was a constant point scorer and finished the season 9th overall, having gathered 158 points.
photo credit – asphaltandrubber.com