We spoke to Loris Baz after the news broke of his return to MotoAmerica.
Loris Baz returns to MotoAmerica with the Warhorse Ducati Squad this year after a two-season hiatus, spending time in the WorldSBK series for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
His previous stint in the American racing series came in 2021, when he rode for the Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York team aboard a Ducati V4 R, impressing against a stacked field of talent.
Sadly, he could not win a race that year, but not many could, thanks to Jake Gagne, who dominated, winning 17 of the 20 available races. Baz came home in P4 overall after adapting to racing on tracks he had never been to before, tracks whose standards frequently fell short of what he was used to from his time in MotoGP and WorldSBK. Despite this, he scored numerous podiums and seriously impressed.
Why did he return? Did he feel like he had unfinished business? We sat down with him to hear what he had to say.
First of all, what is the latest on your injury? Have you fully recovered?
Yes, finally, it was a tough one, but finally, at the end of the season, I had surgery to take off the material inside, and I have my mobility back! So, I can say I’m back 100%.
Tell me a little bit about your thoughts about how the last couple of years in World Superbike have gone.
Well, it was definitely a challenge, and to be honest, we didn’t reach our goals, but we worked hard, and I don’t regret anything. I gave everything I had to make it happen. 2022 was a good year; 2023 was ruined by injury and many technical problems. But that’s behind me, and I’m so looking forward to 2024 now.
What made you decide to take the offer from HSBK Warhorse Ducati and come back to America?
It was really natural for me. HSBK Warhorse Racing is my second family; I have so many good memories from 2021, and I loved working there. I also loved the championship (MotoAmerica) and the fans. It was clear in my mind that I wanted to be back one day. When we realised it was hard to find a good project in World Superbike, I told my manager I wanted to go back to America with the same guys. And I’m so thankful for all the people involved in making it happen: Bobby from HSBK, Warhorse Ducati, Ducati New York, and MotoAmerica.
What do you bring to HSBK Warhorse Ducati this time around that maybe you didn’t have when you first came to America?
Well, many things. The team now has 3 years of experience; they have improved a lot since 2021; they have a base set up for every track and a lot of data. On my side, I know most of the tracks, and that’s the big thing.
Is there a track/circuit in the US that you’re most looking forward to racing at again?
Laguna Seca for sure, but I loved many tracks in the US—Road America, Road Atlanta—those tracks that we see nowhere else! Also, I’m really happy to race in Austin this season, but I’m mainly looking forward to seeing all the fans around every round!
What is the goal for you, personally, in 2024?
The goal is to have fun again and enjoy riding my bike! I have no doubt I will enjoy riding the Ducati V4R, it’s the bike I have enjoyed riding the most in the last few years! I know what to expect, and I’m sure we will all put the work together to achieve the team goals.
How does the team feel about where things stand to get that elusive championship for Ducati in MotoAmerica?
You know, it’s a high-level championship with a lot of people doing a really good job, but I know how much it means for Ducati and the team; they’ve all worked hard since 2021, and I’m sure the work will pay off!
In your opinion, are there riders in the US that are talented enough to compete, and maybe win, in World Superbike or even MotoGP?
Yes, I have always said so; it’s a lot like the BSB. MotoAmerica’s a high-level championship with really good riders and teams. Beaubier has shown really good speed in Moto2, which is one of the hardest championships to perform in. Jake (Gagne) is also really strong, and I’m sure he would have the speed to be in front of WSBK. I think a lot of people understood the level of riding in 2021 when I came back to WSBK and scored three podiums after my season in MotoAmerica.
What do you say to young riders in the United States or elsewhere when they ask your advice on racing?
I always say the same: HAVE FUN! Remember to have fun on the bike and enjoy what you are doing. We all work hard to achieve our goals, but to work harder and harder, you need to remember that you love what you do and enjoy what you do! I take all my motivation for training from that! It’s a really hard world, but it is worth all the work in the world when you do what you always dreamed of doing!
Image credit – Brian J Nelson