Lorenzo Baldassari swaps Moto2 for WorldSSP to head up Yamaha charge

Five-time GP race winner Lorenzo Baldassari swaps Moto2 for WorldSSP as he is signed to head up Yamaha's charge for 2022 with Evan Bros Racing

Lorenzo Baldassari - Evan Bros Racing Yamaha

Lorenzo Baldassari will look to become the third consecutive ex-Moto2 rider to taste success in the 2022 WorldSSP Championship after agreeing terms to join former champions Evan Bros. Racing Yamaha.

The Italian is the latest in a steady stream of riders leaving behind GP competition in favour of a move into the intermediate production-based series, following on from the likes of 2021 champion Dominique Aegerter, 2022 WorldSBK graduate Philipp Oettl and Steve Odendaal, who filled three of the top five spots last year.

However, the rider Baldassari will no doubt be looking to emulate is Andrea Locatelli, who crushed the opposition aboard the Evan Bros. Yamaha R6 in 2020 with a record-breaking 12 wins from 15 races prior to landing a factory Yamaha seat in WorldSBK.

Compared with his fellow Italian, Baldassari brings with him a more impressive tenure of accolades with five Moto2 wins to his name, plus 12 podiums, while he was ranked fifth in the overall standings in 2018.

Originally expected to land at MV Agusta, for whom he raced in Moto2 last year and conducted a post-season test aboard the F3 800, the 25-year old has instead wound up at Yamaha’s factory-assisted entry in WorldSSP for 2022.

"I’m looking forward to a new challenge in the World Supersport Championship with the Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team and Yamaha. I'm very happy and motivated so I'll be preparing as best I can to be ready for the start of the season, scheduled for April 10th. 

“I would like to thank the people around me who support me and the team, who believe in me and have given me this opportunity. I'm sure I've been included in a very solid project with very professional people. 

“My main goals are to give always my best, adapt to the category as soon as possible and start immediately to fight for positions that count. I can't wait to get on the bike for the tests and I look forward to the start of the season.”

Considered Yamaha’s primary WorldSSP effort after also winning the 2019 WorldSSP title with Randy Krummenacher, Evan Bros. nonetheless heads into the 2022 WorldSSP Championship facing some unknowns thanks to an overhaul of the regulations that will allow larger engined models to compete.

It means that at 600cc, the four-cylinder Yamaha R6 will have the smallest engine on the grid as it prepares to take on fresh opponents in the Ducati Panigale V2, MV Agusta F3 800 and most likely the Triumph STR765.