We got the chance to speak with new MotoAmerica arrival Loris Baz who joins the series on a Ducati V4R.
Loris Baz has been officially confirmed as the new HSBK Warhorse Ducati rider for 2021 as Ducati Corse look to make a major impact in the championship following the huge success of the Ducati V4R which has taken two titles in British Superbikes with Scott Redding and Joshua Brookes, plus various wins and podiums in WorldSBK including Redding nearly winning the title as a rookie.
It is clear to see that the motorcycle which Ducati have created is incredibly competitive with Kyle Wyman also taking a MotoAmerica podium aboard the Bologna machine, Wyman racing for his own team with some support from Ducati Corse.
Until late 2020, Wyman was the only Superbike Ducati on the grid with some Superstock Ducati’s in the mix also including PJ Jacobsen. This changed when Ducati Corse decided to put Ducati test rider Lorenzo Zanetti onto a full factory V4R and send him out to fight for wins which he did without making it look too difficult, even against the hugely talented Cameron Beaubier. Zanetti stood on the podium 6 times and won a race at Indianapolis which signified to Ducati that they were not only competitive in the class, they could win races and possibly even a title.
Lorenzo Zanetti won race 2 at Indianapolis for the HSBK Warhorse Ducati team
Sadly for Zanetti, the story stops here. Zanetti was dropped by Ducati in favour of Loris Baz who has MotoGP and WorldSBK experience with 2 wins and 18 podiums to his name in the World Superbike class. The combination of Ducati’s incredibly competitive machinery and Baz’s natural talent aboard a motorcycle means he is instantly a title contender in the series and a rider who expects to win the title.
We caught up with him to see how he feels about this move.
How old were you when you first had an interest in motorcycles and motorcycle racing?
I don’t even remember, I always said I have fuel instead of blood [laughing]. I was riding my first snowmobile and quad at the age 2 and my first bike at 3 or 4, I guess.
What was the first motorcycle you raced as a kid?
I started racing MX in the 85cc class, I did 2 years of MX then switched to road race at 10. My first race was with a Conti 50cc and the Metrakit 50/70cc.
Loris Baz on the Kawasaki ZX-10R in WorldSBK
What made you decide to take the offer from HSBK Warhorse Ducati and come to America?
I have never been scared of a challenge and going in other directions than most of the riders. I moved to British Superbikes at age 18. I was trying hard to get a deal in WSBK for 2021 but I wanted a good bike to fight at the front. We could not make it happen and then we had the call from Ferracci and Bobby. It took me 24 hours to completely switch my mind, I woke up the next day convinced it was the right choice for this year and the future of my career. Since that day, I accepted I would not be competing on the world stage this year and I’m completely motivated to reach my goal in the US together with Warhorse Ducati.
You’ve raced in MotoGP and WSBK along with a few other series. What do you think will be the hardest part about racing in America?
Honestly, I am not scared of anything. I will have a lot of things to learn like tyres, tracks, the bike and team, but this is only fun. There is a time for everything, and we will work hard with the team before the season to learn as many tracks as possible and test as much as possible.
Perhaps the hardest part is right now; organizing the visas, etc. My girlfriend cannot come because of exams year here in Switzerland so I’m trying to bring a friend over with me. So, I think just organizing everything to make the season the easiest possible is the hardest part. But I’m lucky the team and my family, friend, and manager are helping me a lot.
Have you done any research yet on the tracks/circuits you’ll be racing at?
[Laughing] Yes, since the first call from Bobby I’ve been on YouTube watching races and tracks. I’m looking forward to the US tracks a lot. The tracks look like old school tracks and I love it! It reminds me a little bit of BSB. I’m sure I will have a lot of fun.
How familiar are you with the riders in the MotoAmerica series? Have you been able to follow the series at all?
I love racing! I know the series because I watched the races when they were racing with us at MotoGP or WSBK. But also, because I watch nearly every championship in the world when I’m at home! I know some of the guys too like Josh Herrin and Bobby Fong, they both texted me to say they were happy I joined them and if I needed something, I should call them. That’s cool I didn’t expect that!
Loris Baz spent 2 seasons with Ducati riding for the Avintia team in MotoGP
Have you decided on if you’ll stay in the United States and have your base of operations in the US?
No idea yet, as I told you, I will try to come back a few times during the season. But if I have to stay there (United States) due to the travel restrictions I will do so, no problem.
I will talk with the team and listen to their advice. I would want somewhere where I can do some supermotard and ride my pushbike, that would be cool! I will have all the tracks to learn too, so I’m thinking also to just go from one track to another.
How will you define success in 2021?
Bringing the championship home! It’s my only target. I’m not taking it easy and I know how fast the guys are in the US, especially on their track. But it’s a lot of sacrifice doing this, and I’m not doing it to finish second.
What is your favourite circuit in Europe and why?
In the world, definitely Phillip Island. In Europe I have a few, I love Portimao, I love Mugello and Assen, and then English tracks, Brands Hatch has always been one of my favourites!
You’ve raced with a number of different manufacturers over the years, how do you think the Ducati V4R compares to the other bikes in the superbike paddock?
It’s FAST! This bike is born to race, that’s what I love about the Ducati mentality! Also, I’m a tall guy and having a fast engine is always helpful for me to not lose too much on the straight. I’m sure I’m going to love this bike.
Do you have any advice for kids out there that may be interested in becoming a professional motorcycle racer?
Follow your dream! The big thing I’ve learned in my MotoGP years is to never forget it’s a passion and you must have fun. Never forget to have fun. And when you are lost just come back to the base HAVE FUN and all will be better. It’s the best job in the world as soon as we have a helmet on the head.
We look forward to seeing him take to the series this year, the level of talent in the class is so high that we are expecting a very good year of racing.
Featured images – Zanetti Photo – https://brianjnelson.com/