The penultimate piece of the 2017 MotoGP puzzle has fallen into place. As had been widely expected, the Avintia Ducati team have announced that they will be keeping their current line up of Hector Barbera and Loris Baz for the 2017 season.
The Avintia team will have two different bikes at their disposal, one GP16 and one GP15. The current plan calls for Hector Barbera to be riding the GP16 next year, while Loris Baz will get a chance to ride the GP15. Given the exceptional season Barbera has had so far this year, it is unsurprising the Spaniard would be given the more competitive bike, though the difference between the two is marginal.
Below is the official announcement from Avintia:
Hector Barbera and Loris Baz sign with Avintia Racing for 2017
Avintia Racing takes great pleasure in announcing that Hector Barbera and Loris Baz will continue with the team in the 2017 MotoGP World Championship. Hector Barbera already showed his level during the first half of the season. After nine races, he is the best Ducati rider and seventh in the standings, riding a Desmosedici GP14.2. Next year will be the fifth season for the Spaniard with Avintia Racing and thanks to his good results, he’ll have a Desmosedici GP in 2017, the same bike that the factory riders are using this season.
2016 has been the first season for Loris Baz with Avintia Racing after battling with Barbera in 2015 for the Open Class title. Although he didn’t get good results so far, the Frenchman showed his potential during the winter test and the first races of the season. The team is convinced that he is capable of fighting for Top 10 results, and next season, with a better package, he’ll have the chance to demonstrate his skills.
“I’m very happy because I think that we have shown a big progression over the last few years. In just three seasons, we managed to move from twentieth place to seventh in the standings, and we achieved this with an old bike. The team and I grew together over this period of time, so I’m extremely happy to sign a new contract for next season, especially because we’ll finally have a competitive bike, and we will be able to fight for something big. I have a really competitive team, we are like a big family and everybody is always looking for perfection. We help each other and that’s why we have grown so much together. Raul always has big dreams, he is ahead of the future, and without his passion, the experience of Bocha and the support from Antonio, all this wouldn’t be possible.”
“First of all I want to say big thanks to the team for offering me another opportunity, because with the poor races we had so far, ninety per cent of the teams would have decided to sent me back home. But Avintia Racing showed that they trust me and gave me another chance. I also think that during the winter tests and the first few races I showed that I’m not so slow. Now we need to try to get back to that point and try to be as competitive as Hector. The fact that my future is now decided takes a lot of pressure from me, because after my injury it was not easy, so I want to thank Raul, Bocha and Antonio. I feel really good with the team and I think we can show more than what we have seen so far. I got injured in the worst moment of the season, but they always supported and reassured me to take the pressure off. I hope to be able to return the favour with some better results in the last nine races of this season, and even results again in 2017.”
Agustin Escobar (Team Manager)
“We are really happy to continue one more year with Hector and Loris, because they are good riders and even better persons. We have a professional team, but at the same time we are a big family, so that’s why we want to continue together next season. Hector is already showing his potential, and I think Loris can get the good feeling back that he had during the winter tests and show that he has more speed than what he had so far this season. I’m sure that next season, with the new bikes, both will get better results. I also want to thank Ducati for they support and I hope to reward them with great results.”