Despite a few setbacks delaying his rise through the ranks of production class racing, Matteo Baiocco heads into a new decade with a solid World Superbike ride in his pocket.
One of the many Italians to make their presence felt on the international stage in recent years, Baiocco finally gets his chance to excel on Superbike machinery after showing considerable promise during his years of clambering up the biking ladder.
It’s been a hard slog for the 25-year-old though, Baiocco tasting both success and failure at Supersport and Superstock level before eventually reaching the Superbike category in 2009.
Starting out in his native land with a ride in the Italian 125cc Championship, Baiocco favoured a move to Supersport machinery in 2002 with an entry into the European series. A solid season in 2002 set him up for a title tilt in 2003, Baiocco becoming the final winner of the championship before it folded.
Nonetheless, his success earned him an opportunity to compete in the World Supersport Championship riding a Yamaha prepared by Lorenzini by Leoni. He achieved modest success, scoring in five races and taking a best of ninth position on home ground at Imola.
Switching to Lightspeed Kawasaki for the 2005 WSS season, the move would prove to be an ill-fated one, Baiocco proving desperately off the pace. Qualifying several seconds off the leaders and scoring just three points, Baiocco would quit the team after just six rounds. A brief appearance on a Tienne Yamaha at Imola aside, Baiocco wouldn’t appear on the world stage again that year.
His less than successful foray into World Supersports would subsequently prompt a step back into the Superstock series and a return to Yamaha. Proving instantly competitive on the Umbria R1, Baiocco scored in each of the season’s ten races, reaching the podium once at Magny-Cours and ending the year fifth overall.
Retained by the team for 2007, Baiocco won twice to launch himself into a title challenge against Niccolo Canepa and Claudio Corti. However, while he marginally led heading into the final round, a ninth place finish – compared to his rivals’ respective third and second – would see him end the season a somewhat disappointing third.
Furthermore, his success didn’t open up any Superbike or Supersport opportunities for 2008, Baiocco being left to try his luck on a Kawasaki for the second time by joining the O Six team. However, despite his success in 2007, Baiocco struggled to make an impression on the ZX-10R and by the end of the season he had dropped to 20th in the standings.
Despite this, Baiocco still courted some Superbike interest over the winter before penning a deal to join the PSG-1 Corse team. Although the Sammarinese concern had lost its factory-supported Kawasaki contract, it was persevering with a pair of privateer ZX-10Rs for Baiocco and Ayrton Badovini.
With no pre-season testing, however, Baiocco struggled to be competitive on the bike, even if he did break his points duck at Assen before scoring again at Monza. Fittingly, it would be the final time PSG-1 would score in World Superbikes after skipping three of the next four rounds before confirming its withdrawal from the series at Brno.
Despite this, Baiocco would remain on a Superbike after being signed by Guandalini Racing to lead its challenge in the Italian CIV series, before being promoted to World Superbike rider for the final four events.
Capitalising on his chance, Baiocco showed respectable pace on the 1098RS, especially compared his Guandalini predecessors Brendan Roberts and Gregorio Lavilla, scoring on four occasions and sneaking into the top ten for the first time at Portimao.
While it wasn’t enough to prompt Guandalini to retain him for 2010, Baiocco did catch the eye of Team Pedercini, prompting a return to Kawasaki machinery for the coming season. Career Highlights:2010:
Baiocco is granted a second season in World Superbikes with Pedercini Kawasaki
World Superbike Championship, PSG Kawasaki / Guandalini Ducati, 24th2008:
FIM Superstock 1000 Championship, O Six Kawasaki, 20th2007:
FIM Superstock 1000 Championship, Umbria Yamaha, 3rd (2 wins) 2006:
FIM Superstock 1000 Championship, Umbria Yamaha, 5th2005:
World Supersport Championship (6 races), Lightspeed Kawasaki, 39th2004:
World Supersport Championship, Lorenzini by Leoni Yamaha, 17th2003:
European Supersport Championship, MaxMoto Yamaha, Champion
World Supersport Championship (one race), MaxMoto Yamaha, N/C2002:
European Supersport Championship, Parimotor Yamaha2001:
125cc European Championship (3 races), Dex Aprilia
125cc Italian Championship, Dex Aprilia2000:
125cc Italian Championship, Campetella Aprilia