Guyot on "perfect, ambitious" Baldassarri as GMT94 Yamaha complete first WorldSBK test
It was a whirlwind two days in a sunny but cold Jerez, but it was productive for one of the key stories on the 2023 grid
After a packed two-day test at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, the majority of the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship grid will be heading to Portimao for more testing next week. However, it was a major test at Jerez for one rider and team: Lorenzo Baldassarri and GMT94 Yamaha. The Italian, a rookie in the class this season, made his WorldSBK debut as he gets up to speed for testing, whilst his team is also new to the class for 2023. Christophe Guyot’s outfit may have been completing more of a shakedown style test but nonetheless, the mood was bright inside the box as the team blended together.
Baldassarri was busy across both days as he adapted to a WorldSBK bike’s demands, completing 132 laps. 67 laps on Wednesday followed by 65 laps on Thursday, the first day of the test was completed without electronics, far from ideal but undoubtedly impressive. Being a taller rider, Baldassarri has stated that he believes this will help him, whilst being on the same bike as the factory Yamahas is key.
Talking about day two, progression was the aim of the game for ‘Iron Balda’: “Everything was new for us. Today was about progression. I’m very happy because I like the bike. I like the Yamaha and also, I need this power! I’m enjoying a lot. To be fast, we need to work and understand more things. I could understand a lot of things step by step about the chassis and the electronics but many more things to discover!”
The #34 also spoke about his adaptation to the bike: “The behaviour of the chassis is similar but, for sure, there’s much more power. The electronics are a good help. We ran without them on Wednesday and it’s so difficult. It’s a good feeling I’m building with the bike, making changes, so I think the Yamaha chassis is nice. For now, the power is a lot. Maybe, in a few days more I need more power!”
For team boss Christophe Guyot, first impressions were good, particularly with Baldassarri’s mindset: “The first impression for me is very, very good. We appreciate Lorenzo Baldassarri’s attitude a lot. He’s now in WorldSBK, he is a World Championship runner-up in WorldSSP. He’s won several times in Moto2™ and he has accepted the strategy of his race engineer to start slowly, firstly without the electronics, and then used tyres. On Day 1, he used only three tyres; normally it would be six. He has ridden many, many laps with used tyres. The focus was not lap time in Jerez. We will see in Portimao. For now, the strategy is for him to learn the bike and also to wait for some parts because it is a shorter winter. Lorenzo is perfect: smiling, nice and ambitious.”
He continued, stating the goals and aims for 2023: “I have zero objectives for the rider; this is for the rider; you can ask him! The objective for my team is to prove that we have a place in WorldSBK. It’s very important for me to prove that my team can be a very good team in WorldSBK. Then, I have absolutely no pressure because both in WorldSSP and WorldSBK, we have the best riders possible. It’s very important to be proud when you understand the target of my team is to prove that we do only a sport and it’s important that we give the bike to a rider who deserves it. When you are a World Championship runner up, you deserve to be here.”
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