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!"