David Salom is to make his return to the World Superbike Championship at Laguna Seca after being called up to replace the still-recovering Loris Baz in the Kawasaki Racing Team.
A former World Supersport runner-up, Salom is also experienced at Superbike level having raced a Kawasaki ZX-10R in 2009 and 2012 for the satellite Pedercini team.
Currently riding a Kawasaki in the Supersport class, the Spaniard will have the opportunity to get reacquainted with Superbike machinery for the series' return to Laguna Seca as he joins Tom Sykes in the factory-supported team.
“I am very happy that the decision was made to allow me to ride the official Superbike at Laguna Seca,” said Salom, whose best WSBK finish in 48 starts is a tenth place in Russia. “This is a new opportunity for me and for sure it will be difficult. The track is new to me and this machine is not the same as the one I rode last year. So I have a lot of learning to do, even though this is a great opportunity for me.”
Salom takes the place of Baz, who is still recovering from the back injury he suffered in a pre-race accident at the Nurburgring. The Frenchman was forced into a last minute withdrawal in Turkey after a new injury was discovered during a final medical check, with doctors recommending he continues to play it safe in the hope he will be fit for his home event at Magny-Cours just a week later.
“Loris should be OK to ride at Magny-Cours because he will have had a few weeks of recovery from his vertebra injury,” explained KRT team manager Guim Roda. “We had expected he would ride in Turkey so we had no time to make a replacement for him there. However, because Loris's recovery is so important we have considered it best to keep him at home again, just to ensure that he comes back 100% fit and ready to race at his home round. He knows that track well and can help Tom in his end of season push for the title.
“We have asked David Salom to ride the official KRT Ninja ZX-10R in America alongside Tom and he has accepted the chance - and the challenge. We know him well as together we were second in the Supersport World Championship in 2011. We are well aware of his value as a rider. It will also be a help to him to grow, to let him go back to his regular ride on the Ninja ZX-6R in Supersport sharp and operating at a high level.
“It will not be an easy challenge for him in America – a new bike, a new track to learn - and the best riders of modified streetbike machines in the world to compete against. We will give him all the tools and support we can. There will be at least a couple of other substitute riders in different teams at this round, so our aim for David is to try and beat them.”
Salom won't be the only unfamiliar face to be racing at Laguna Seca, with Niccolo Canepa replacing the injured Carlos Checa at Alstare Ducati, while Blake Young joins FIXI Crescent Suzuki in place of Leon Camier.
In addition, Roger Lee Hayden, Danny Eslick and Glen Allerton are pencilled in to compete as wild-cards.