North America has some famous racing venues but very few hold the international stature of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The rolling hills just out of Monterey have played host to some of the most famous riders ever to grace the sport, and this weekend Ducati hopes to add its name to the list of Laguna winners when Frenchman Loris Baz (Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York) and Spaniard Toni Elias (Panera Bread Ducati) front the green light for round six of the 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship.
MotoAmerica rookie, Baz, comes into the only Californian round of the championship with prior experience of the track, having raced here during his years in the WorldSBK Championship. Sitting sixth in the points, Baz knows a good result here can hoist him to within touching distance of the championship top three.
The Laguna Seca round will see Ducati welcome former MotoAmerica and 2010 Moto2 World Champion Toni Elias back into the family. The storied Spaniard rode for the Alice Ducati squad during the 2008 MotoGP season, and after spending the first half of the 2021 MotoAmerica season on the sidelines after an American career spent at Suzuki, Elias is ready like a boxer strapping the gloves on once again.
Elias replaces Kyle Wyman at Laguna Seca on the Panera Bread Ducati, who is still recovering from a broken arm suffered at Road Atlanta.
Loris Baz (Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati New York – Ducati #76)
“It’s good to go to famous Laguna, finally a track I know,” Baz said. “We also have some data on the bike, and my years in the world championship mean I have a bit of a reference for the track. It’s going to be exciting to race here. It’s always a place I love to go. It’s one of the best tracks in the world—it’s old school, that’s why I like it so much.
“We get stronger and stronger each time we get on the bike, so I think it’s going to be a good weekend for us. I’m feeling ready, healthy, and I can’t wait to get after it.”
Toni Elias (Panera Bread Ducati – Ducati #24)
“I’m very excited to feel the energy of racing again,” Elias said. “It’s been a long time, almost one year without racing. No matter the result, just to be there and riding this Ducati at Laguna will be a great feeling. It will be nice to feel a real Superbike again—the power, suspension, tires—these are the things you miss when you stop.
“I’ve been very active on bikes since my last race, coaching the kids and adults, surfing, and I have the experience needed to ride this bike.
“This Ducati is something new for me, but I remember the Ducati DNA of the past (in MotoGP). I have been talking with Kyle to try some ideas for this weekend but also to help him in the future. In the end, this is a very different bike compared to my MotoGP machine of 2008 but it still has that Ducati DNA. That doesn’t change.
“I’m very happy to be here and grateful to Kyle for giving me the chance to ride the bike.”
Round six of the 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship will be held at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on July 9-11, 2021.