Loris Baz is coming to the United States to race a Ducati Panigale V4 R Superbike for HSBK Racing in the 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship.
The deal has been rumored in European-based media reports for weeks, but Roadracingworldcom has now confirmed with sources in Italy and in America that the deal is in the process of receiving its final approvals and should be announced this week.
Celtic HSBK Racing Ducati started out the 2020 season by fielding American PJ Jacobsen on a Ducati Panigale V4 R in the MotoAmerica Stock 1000 and Superbike Cup classes. Jacobsen dominated, winning the first two Stock 1000 races and the first three Superbike Cup races. But during a practice session on June 28 at Road America, Jacobsen’s Ducati caught fire while he was on track at speed and he suffered serious burns that kept him out of action for the remainder of the 2020 season.
Celtic HSBK Racing, renamed as Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York, brought Italian rider Lorenzo Zanetti over to fill in for injured Jacobsen in the second half of the 2020 MotoAmerica season. Initially, Zanetti rode Jacobsen’s Stock 1000-spec machine in the Superbike races at Ridge Motorsports Park with mixed results. Then Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York brought Zanetti back with a factory-spec Superbike and factory Ducati technicians for the round at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).
Zanetti went on to win a MotoAmerica Superbike race at Indianapolis and finish on the podium in the two other Superbike races at IMS. The 33-year-old then got on the podium in all three Superbike races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca at the end of the 2020 MotoAmerica season.
At that time, Zanetti, an official test rider for Ducati’s Superbike program, and Celtic HSBK Racing leadership all said they hoped to return with the same program in 2021 if they could find the budget.
Now, Baz (who turned 28 years old on February 1) is joining the HSBK Racing Ducati team, which will be led by legendary Ducati tuner Eraldo Ferracci as Team Manager.
Baz, then 19, burst into the FIM Superbike World Championship in 2012, winning a race on his factory Kawasaki in his rookie season. Baz won another World Superbike race in 2013 and finished on the podium 14 times in total during his three seasons with Kawasaki.
Baz left World Superbike to join the MotoGP World Championship, where he raced for three seasons (2015-2017) with best race results of a fourth at Misano in 2015 and a fourth again at Brno in 2016.
Last year, Baz raced for Ten Kate Yamaha in the FIM Superbike World Championship, reaching the podium four times and finishing eighth in the eight-round, 24-race Championship.