Kawasaki Racing has completed it rider line-up for the 2013 World Superbike Championship with the confirmation that Loris Baz will get a full season with the manufacturer following his star turn during the second-half of the 2012 season.
Having begun his season competing in the FIM Superstock 1000 Championship, Baz was called up to ride in place of the injured Joan Lascorz from round five at Donington Park and has since gone on to become a revelation aboard the ZX-10R.
Steadily progressing up the order as he adapted to the rigours of WSBK racing, Baz proceeded to star with his run to the podium at Brno before stunning the paddock again by prevailing for victory in the tricky conditions of Silverstone.
As such, Kawasaki has offered Baz the chance to ride a full season in 2013 alongside the already-confirmed Tom Sykes, a deal that the 20-year-old is thrilled with.
“I am really happy, as you can imagine! Since I first got on the official Kawasaki Racing Team bike I have done everything I could to stay for the future. I think it is one of the best bikes and best teams so I did not want to go anywhere else.
“To stay in this team was the best for me. We have a really good base and I want to be strong for next year. I have to thank Guim Roda, my team manager, for taking me in the first place – a young rider on an official bike – and I also have to thank Kawasaki, who also believed in me.
“After the end of last year, when I had nothing, they asked me to ride in Superstock. I saw it as a new challenge and a new beginning. So I am really happy to ride for Kawasaki again and I cannot wait for next year.”
For Kawasaki Racing team manager Guim Roda, the decision to retain Baz proves the wisdom of signing the youngster for the manufacturer's Superstock program in the first place.
“When we took out Loris from the Superstock project and brought him into the Superbike team it was because we believed in his potential. It was not just to finish the year. We worked with him to confirm the potential and his way of working.
“We saw that he was a good prospect for the future so from the beginning we had, more or less, a clear idea and he just confirmed our expectations. He has demonstrated his abilities and has won a race already so Kawasaki wanted to reward his efforts with a ride next year.”
Kawasaki is the third manufacturer to announce its rider line-up for 2013, following BMW (Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies) and Honda (Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea).