Loris Baz reportedly makes decision on future, plus other WorldSBK rumours…

Super-sub Loris Baz looks set to be back on the WorldSBK grid in 2022 after choosing BMW over Ducati to join Bonovo MGM Racing

Loris Baz

Loris Baz looks to be beating a path back to the WorldSBK Championship for 2022 after reportedly accepting an offer from BMW to join its satellite set-up.

Regarded as one of the series’ most consistent front runners, the Frenchman was nonetheless frozen off the 2021 WorldSBK grid after the Ten Kate Yamaha squad he impressed with in 2020 opted to focus on WorldSSP and the factory selected Andrea Locatelli over him for the Pata Crescent seat.

Baz went on to accept an offer to compete in the MotoAmerica series, riding the Warhorse HSBK Ducati Panigale V4 R to five podiums en route to fourth overall.

However, it was his superb two-event stint on the GoEleven Ducati - in place of an injured Chaz Davies - that Baz put himself back in the WorldSBK shop window. Indeed, despite revealing he was close to an extended MotoAmerica deal, his two podiums in Portimao led to a bidding war between Ducati and BMW for his services for 2022.

GPOne is reporting that Baz has selected BMW as his preferred choice, replacing Jonas Folger on the Bonovo MGM M 1000 RR. Though the team has struggled with ex-MotoGP rider Folger in its first season of WorldSBK racing, the deal is expected to see it receive greater factory involvement in 2022.

Baz’s arrival at Bonovo MGM would appear to confirm growing rumours that Tom Sykes - BMW’s first pick for Bonovo MGM - will return to BSB with Paul Bird Motorsport’s VisionTrack Ducati team.

Elsewhere, Go Eleven is understood to be negotiating with Yamaha over a machinery switch from Ducati, which together with Gil Motorsport would ensure four R1-represented teams in 2022.

Barni Ducati will look to get over a tough campaign split between the disappointing Tito Rabat and Samuele Cavalieri by looking to the next generation for its 2022 set-up. The Italian outfit is said to be close to a deal to bring San Marino’s WorldSSP front runner Luca Bernardi into the series.

Honda, meanwhile, is almost certain to reveal iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge as its riders for 2022, while the recent upturn in form by the MIE Honda team could make it a more attractive proposition for Leon Haslam, or possibly Axel Bassani, who was reportedly considered for the factory Honda ride.

Elsewhere, WorldSSP champion-elect Dominique Aegerter is likely to be on several teams’ wish-lists - including Go Eleven, MIE - after a fine rookie campaign in the intermediate class, though this could manifest in Ten Kate Racing returning to the Superbike class.