Three-time FIM Endurance World Champions and FIM Supersport World Championship front-runners GMT94 Yamaha will step up to the FIM Superbike World Championship in 2023, fielding a latest-spec Yamaha R1 for Lorenzo Baldassarri to form the GMT94 Yamaha WorldSBK Team.
Having spent the last five seasons running the race winning Yamaha R6 in the intermediate class with Yamaha support, the GMT94 Yamaha team will now take on the premier category for the first time since 2009. Following his impressive first year in WorldSSP, Yamaha is delighted to sign Baldassarri for the 2023 season, during which he’ll race a Yamaha R1 for the French squad.
Meanwhile, GMT94 Yamaha will continue to contest the WorldSSP championship for a sixth consecutive season in 2023, with a single Yamaha R6 for French Supersport Champion Valentin Debise.
Founded in 1991, the GMT94 team has a long and successful history in motorcycle road racing, celebrating its first title in the 1998 French Superbike Championship, which was won by the team’s founder Christophe Guyot. In only their second EWC season, the team officially announced itself on the world stage, winning the 24 Hours of Oschersleben in 2000, and finishing second in the final standings.
In 2001, the team took its first of three 24 Hours of Le Mans victories, and after narrowly missing out on title success throughout its first five seasons, GMT94, now running Yamaha machinery, was crowned the 2004 EWC champions. By the time it bowed out of endurance racing in 2018, the GMT94 Yamaha team had racked up three world titles (adding 2014 and 2016-17 to its 2004 championship), 17 wins, including two Bol D’or victories, and 36 podiums.
It then embarked on the WorldSSP championship in 2018, going on to take seven victories with Jules Cluzel, as well as 24 podiums, the most recent of which came in the team’s home race at Magny-Cours this year.
Stepping up to WorldSBK with them, Baldassarri has shown incredible speed and consistency in 2022, winning four races including on his debut at Aragón, and 14 podiums. The Italian currently sits second in the standings, and with three rounds remaining is well in the hunt for the title.
Prior to this season, Baldassarri was well established inside the Grand Prix paddock. Having made his debut in the 2013 Moto3 season, his unquestionable talents earned him promotion to the Moto2 World Championship in 2014.
There, he soon became a regular top 10 finisher, and celebrated his maiden podium at the 2015 Australian round in Phillip Island. The following season he added two more rostrums to his tally, including a breakthrough victory at the San Marino GP, beating the likes of MotoGP riders Franco Morbidelli, Alex Rins, Takaaki Nakagami and Johann Zarco.
In 2018, Baldassarri took another victory, this time at the Spanish GP in Jerez, and finished fifth in the Moto2 standings. The following year, the #7 rider kicked off the season with three wins from four races, eventually ending the year seventh in the standings. ‘Balda’ left the GP paddock in 2021, entering the WorldSSP championship with his sights set on WorldSBK.
GMT94 Yamaha WorldSBK Team Manager
“We are delighted to welcome Lorenzo BALDASSARI to the Superbike class for the 2023 season. He is currently one of the two contenders for the world title in Supersport. Our desire, in consultation with Yamaha, was to offer this opportunity to a rider who was able to win races in 2022. With Valentin DEBISE (France) in Supersport, and Lorenzo BALDASSARI (Italy) in Superbike, GMT94 is one of the teams only committed to sporting results in order to give all riders the desire and hope to one day reach the highest level.“
GMT94 Yamaha WorldSBK Team
“I’m very happy, because I started this project with Yamaha in WorldSSP from Moto2, and my goal was always to be in WorldSBK. This year, we’ve had a very good season, we have grown together and I’m always improving. I’m ready for this step into the WorldSBK championship with Yamaha and the GMT94 Yamaha WorldSBK Team, so thanks to them for giving me this opportunity; I can’t wait to start this new adventure.”
Yamaha Motor Europe Road Racing Manager“It’s nice to see that our supported team from the WorldSSP championship is stepping up to WorldSBK. We have seen how successful this has been in the past with the GRT Yamaha team, and now we will be supporting GMT94 Yamaha in the same way. They are a team that knows what it takes to be competitive at the top level, and we expect a good performance straight away. Yamaha wanted to offer an opportunity to the best riders in WorldSSP, and with Lorenzo we have someone who’s clearly ready to make this step. From the first race, he has impressed us and to be in the title fight in such a competitive category is an incredible achievement in itself. We look forward to having the GMT94 Yamaha WorldSBK Team and Lorenzo on the grid in 2023.”