Imola, Italy

Loris Baz Interview: Ten Kate And Yamaha The Right Package For Podiums

It has been a long winter of waiting for Loris Baz. For a long time, it looked like the Frenchman would not have a full time ride for 2019, but on Tuesday, at the press conference presenting the Dutch round of WorldSBK at Assen, the Ten Kate squad announced they would be making a return to World Superbikes, racing a Yamaha R1, with Loris Baz at the helm.

Baz had been in contact with the Ten Kate squad for a while, and had decided to wait for the team to take shape. He had spent his time training hard, often riding in the snow, as well as occasionally helping other teams where the needed it.

"Already at the end of last season we took the decision, my manager and the guys around me, to only race if we could have a package to be fighting at the front," Baz said. "I didn't want to have another season like year but we couldn't find anything in WorldSBK so we looked in MotoAmerica, in BSB and other places."

The discussions with Ten Kate team managers Ronald ten Kate and Kervin Bos had persuaded Baz that it would be worth waiting. "When we started to talk to Ronald and Kervin it made us think that we should wait and see if anything can happen with them. We were told by Ten Kate that if the project would happen it would only happen with the right package. It was a long time waiting for it to happen but finally it's cool! It's worth it."

All about the package

For Baz, it was the complete package of bike and team which had convinced him this was a project worth joining. "The package is everything," he said. "Unfortunately this is a sport where you need everything to perform. You can give the best bike to the best rider but if he's in a bad team it won't work. You can give a fantastic team a bad bike and it won't work. A perfect bike, a perfect team and a bad rider won't work either!"

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2019 WorldSBK Provisional Calendar Announced: 12 Confirmed Rounds, 1 TBA

The FIM has announced the provisional WorldSBK calendar for the 2019 season. The calendar as it stands has 13 rounds, 12 of which have been confirmed. Brno and Laguna Seca are out, while Jerez makes a comeback, with a midsummer round still to be announced. That round could be Kyalami.

The season starts out in a similar vein to previous years, kicking off proceedings at Phillip Island on 24th February, before heading to Buriram in Thailand three weeks later. Three weeks after that, the series lands in Europe, racing first at Aragon in Spain, where WorldSBK and WorldSSP are joined by the WorldSSP300 class, before heading north to Assen for the Dutch round. Four weeks after Assen, the WorldSBK paddock heads south to Italy for the round at Imola.

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2018 Imola WorldSBK Notes: One hand on the title already?

Following his double victory at Imola Jonathan Rea has laid the foundations for his fourth consecutive WorldSBK title.

Rea becomes the equal of Foggy

Jonathan Rea's 59th WorldSBK victory saw the Northern Irishman join Carl Fogarty as the most successful rider in WorldSBK history. But the triple champion was quick to point out that winning races is good but winning championships is better. Still trailing Foggy by one title, there is now a sense of inevitability that Rea will add to his championship haul. The previous two years had seen Chaz Davies do the double at Imola, but he had no answers for Rea over the weekend. They were the class of the field, but it was Rea who came out on top following a tough weekend for the Ducati rider. With a 47 point advantage the title race is now firmly in Rea's hands.

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2018 Imola World Superbike Race Two Results: A Race Of Pace

World Superbike's second race at Imola made use of the reverse grid set in yesterday's race but would be missing Jason O'Halloran as he has been declared unfit after his crash yesterday. His leg was broken by a foot peg during his crash in yesterday's race.

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