Reigning Italian Superbike champion Matteo Baiocco has signed a one-year deal with Moto Rapido Ducati for this year's MCE British Superbike Championship.
The 28-year-old rode with the Winchester-based squad at Silverstone last year as an injury replacement (pictured) and returns for a full season with the blessing of Ducati, where he is the official 1199 Panigale test rider.
“I am very happy to finally formalise my agreement with the team Moto Rapido,” said Baiocco. “We have been working for this together for a long time and I really want to thank Steve Moore for the opportunity. During 2012 I had already got to know the team Moto Rapido and BSB, I like the team very much and I was excited to race BSB.
“This will be a very important season for me after winning in Italy I look forward to the challenge of the riders in BSB and do my best to be competitive in the best national series of the world. I'm preparing for the best to be ready at the first race. I want to say thank you to Ducati Corse and Ducati UK who will help us in this season.
“We will do our best to be competitive and fight with our 1199 Panigale R. A big hello to all the British fans that are unique and have great passion and loyalty for racing.”
Team principal Steve Moore added: “Firstly I am really pleased to continue our project in BSB with Ducati and I am very happy to have put pen to paper with Matteo over the Christmas break. He is quite a character and I am sure the BSB fans will love him.
“Matteo is twice Italian Superbike Champion with Ducati and his strong links to the factory brings increased technical support from Ducati Corse. With the upgrade to the 1199R Panigale this year we are expecting to progress well. We are still a new team so the challenge has been huge, but this season is looking stronger than ever for us and we have more exciting news still to come.”
Moore also paid tribute to former rider Scott Smart, who is switching to the British Supersport Championship as part of a four-rider line-up for Oxford TAG Triumph.
“I would like to thank Scott Smart for the hard work of the last few seasons with us, his technical ability is astonishing and has helped us develop all areas of the 1199. We'll be cheering him on in Supersport this year,” said Moore.