FIRST THOUGHTS: Baldassarri discusses his ‘interesting’ graduation to WorldSBK in 2023

Friday, 14 October 2022 08:00 GMT

The Italian rider will team up with GMT94 Yamaha as both he and the team make their WorldSBK debut next season

A new face will line up on the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship grid as Lorenzo Baldassarri makes the step up to WorldSBK for next season alongside GMT94, with a rookie pairing of rider and team hoping to make an instant impact in their maiden campaigns. Discussing his move to WorldSBK and GMT94 Yamaha, Baldassarri, who is fighting for the WorldSSP title this season, opened up on the challenge he will face and remained coy on his goals for next year.

Baldassarri had instant success when he switched from Moto2™ to WorldSSP for this season, winning four races so far in his rookie campaign as he makes the switch to WorldSBK after just one season in WorldSSP. As well as four wins, Baldassarri has taken 14 podiums in 18 races this season with the Italian rookie sitting second in the standings, 45 points behind title rival Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) with Aegerter also making the step up to WorldSBK in 2023.

Discussing his switch to GMT94 Yamaha and WorldSBK in 2023, Baldassarri said: “I’m honoured about this great opportunity that Yamaha have given me. We signed a contract with Yamaha and with GMT94. I think it’s a great chance to jump on a Superbike. It’s my bike with my body and I can’t wait to start this new adventure from winter testing and also to start the season.”

The Italian remained coy on his goals for the season as he outlined all the new aspects of his 2023 adventure, couple with a team who will be new to the Championship next year. Not only will Baldassarri have to get to know his new team, but he will have to learn a new format with three races rather than two as well as electronics. Baldassarri also revealed his plan for next season as he looks to make an instant impact on the Championship.

Baldassarri added: “It’s like going back to school. Many things such as electronics will be new, because in Moto2™ there were just a things but no electronics, no traction control or anti-wheelie, so it was like Supersport. Also, it’s a new team, the new format with three races in one weekend, it will be interesting. I don’t know, we’ll have to speak after the winter tests! For sure, I have to take my time and also the team to get to know each other well and grow up with each other. It’s new for me, it’s new for my team. GMT94 have experience with the R1, in endurance, but WorldSBK is new for them. I’m going to be calm from the beginning and go step by step.”

Prior to switching paddocks, where Baldassarri hopes to become the latest rookie Champion in WorldSSP, the Italian rider was a front runner in the Moto2™ class, taking five win and 12 podiums in his time there from 2014 to 2021. Now with plenty of Moto2™ experience under his belt and a season in WorldSSP where he has, again, been a front runner, what will Baldassarri be able to achieve as he and GMT94 Yamaha step up to WorldSBK?

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