Loris Baz, second youngest rider to win a World Superbike race has been confirmed as Tom Sykes's partner at Kawasaki for 2013. Frenchman Baz has earned himself a lot of new fans this year after he replaced Joan Lascorz after the Spaniard's career-ending accident at Imola. What was to be a temporary promotion from Superstock 1000, Baz showed that he was ready for World Superbike.
Baz Joins Sykes To Complete KRT’s 2013 SBK Rider Line Up
Loris Baz will join Tom Sykes in the official Kawasaki Racing Team once more next year with both current official KRT riders returning to compete in the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship season.
Baz, the Superstock 600 European Champion in 2008, joined the team this year after regular rider Joan Lascorz was injured in testing and since then has made improvements throughout the season. These have culminated in three podiums - includings one race win - and one fastest lap in his rookie SBK season on the Ninja ZX-10R. He also scored a podium for Kawasaki in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup class he started the season in.
Remarkable as it seems for a rider with such strong results under his belt, Baz is still a teenager and will only turn 20 years of age shortly before next season kicks off for real, in Australia in late February 2013. His youth and obvious talent, plus his ability to learn and develop, were key elements in the official Kawasaki team’s decision to retain him for the 2013 season.
Loris Baz: “I am really happy, as you can imagine! Since I first got on the official Kawasaki Racing Team bike I have done everything I could to stay for the future. I think it is one of the best bikes and best teams so I did not want to go anywhere else. To stay in this team was the best for me. We have a really good base and I want to be strong for next year. I have to thank Guim Roda, my team manager, for taking me in the first place – a young rider on an official bike – and I also have to thank Kawasaki, who also believed in me. After the end of last year, when I had nothing, they asked me to ride in Superstock. I saw it as a new challenge and a new beginning. So I am really happy to ride for Kawasaki again and I cannot wait for next year.”
Tom Sykes: “I think Loris is a very good signing. He is a young, very exciting, rider and he has potential. For me it is good in that we can fully focus on what we have been doing so far, bringing the Ninja ZX-10R up to speed. I think it is very vitally important to keep focused on what we have done. I think Kawasaki, the team and all of us are smart enough to realise that keeping continuity is good. The team are fantastic, many of them are new to Superbike this year and all of them are doing a great job. I think it is all positive for 2013.”
Steve Guttridge: KME European Race Planning Manager: “We are really excited to announce that Loris will remain with the official KRT factory team for 2013. He has done a marvellous job this year after he stood in for our injured rider Joan Lascorz. We are happy to give him this full opportunity in 2013 to let him grow into the role, along with the team and Tom Sykes his team-mate. He has so much potential; he has absorbed everything and followed our remit to keep calm but also get good results. He is already a race winner and he can only grow up as a new generation of rider coming into the Superbike World Championship. We are realistic and expect him to keep growing up and be a good team-mate to Tom.”
Ichiro Yoda: KHI Racing Manager: “Loris is very young and had already won a race in the rain, and had other podiums. He has potential and we would like to help educate him and maybe for the future he is top rider in Superbike. We felt this so that is why we would like to work with him. Also a rider needs some luck and it looks like he carries some good luck! At 19 years of age in his first year in the world championship he has won a race, so he must have a good luck and intelligence to do this.”
Guim Roda: Kawasaki Racing Team Manager: “When we took out Loris from the Superstock project and brought him into the Superbike team it was because we believed in his potential. It was not just to finish the year. We worked with him to confirm the potential and his way of working. We saw that he was a good prospect for the future so from the beginning we had, more or less, a clear idea and he just confirmed our expectations. He has demonstrated his abilities and has won a race already so Kawasaki wanted to reward his efforts with a ride next year.”