To date, few riders can boast of having a trophy dated 2020 in their showcase, but Lorenzo Baldassarri is one of them thanks to a second place obtained in the first (and only one so far) race of the year in Qatar. The rider from the Marche region of Italy was the guest of the live broadcast yesterday on GPOne’s social channels (Facebook and YouTube as usual), in the company of Gianmaria Rosati and Andrea Rossi.
There was also no shortage of questions from the many viewers who wanted to find out more about Lorenzo's future. Baldassarri is in fact one of the names most linked with Ducati as regards the future, but the rider of the Pons team remains with his feet firmly on the ground.
“I have heard the rumours - said Lorenzo - but at the moment I don't think it's anything concrete. My manager (Simone Battistella, the same as Andrea Dovizioso) has not yet said anything to me, but if there is something concrete, we will talk about it shortly. The situation is unusual at the moment, but it would be my dream to go to MotoGP ".
If Ducati offered you a place in the Aruba team to aim for the WSBK title on the Panigale V4, what would be your answer?
"It would be an offer worth considering, certainly not one to be ruled out just like that, but it is not part of my long-term goals. My dream is MotoGP, but the Ducati Panigale is a great bike and trying to win with it wouldn't be a bad thing. "
Let's go back to MotoGP. If you had a choice, which bike would you like to ride in the top class?
"I would love to ride a Ducati for several reasons, although it is not an easy bike, but another first choice would be the Yamaha. Looking back maybe I would try them all. Honda? I see it as a small and compact bike while I have long levers, but I certainly wouldn't mind a contract with the Japanese manufacturer."
Someone who has made the leap into the premier class is Alex Marquez. What do you think his impact on the category might be?
“Certainly, his brother is head and shoulders above him, but Alex is a hard worker and has improved a lot in recent years. I find it difficult to make a prediction, but he is a talent and certainly goes strong. Last year we fought a lot: at the beginning he was in trouble, but with the arrival of the bigger tyre he made a big step forward ".
You and Alex had a close encounter in Assen, when your slide brought both of you to the ground, and Alex did not have a particularly friendly reaction
"After the accident he behaved like a dog, so much so that it was if he had crashed, not me: I was sorry about causing both of us to crash, but he came to push me and rail against me while I was trapped under the bike , it wasn’t a normal thing. Later I behaved like a gentleman and went to the garage for an explanation and apologize for what happened. "
Let's talk about your recent past. How do you rate your last season?
"It was an unusual season. I made some progress compared to 2018, it seemed that I had found the right consistency, but when I arrived in Europe things got complicated: already in Jerez I was a bit in difficulty, only to succeed then in winning, but in subsequent races I had to play catch-up. I remained in contention for the title in the first part of the season, but then I had other problems that took away my concentration, so the final result was not what I hoped for ".
Baldassarri: "I left the Academy so as not to settle down there, between 500 and Formula 1 I would try the first"
Last season you also decided to leave the VR46 Riders Academy. What did this choice depend on?
"Last year my contract with the Academy was expiring, so I looked around and realized that it was better to continue on my own, so as not to settle down there excessively."
How has your racing and non-racing life changed since then?
“I have changed a few things around me. I had already been in contact with Simone for some time (Battistella, Ed.), so after leaving the Academy there was a common desire to start working together. As far as training is concerned, I have a person who follows me: overall I have created a new work team, with which I feel really comfortable."
You won the most recent race you have done, which is the virtual race. Did you like it as an experience?
"I had a lot of fun, after all it was the closest experience to a real race I could have done at the time, and it brought me back to my good win at Jerez last year. I have always been a competitive guy on everything, I was also at school, so I wanted to do well in this sector too ".
What is it like to be part of the Pons team? What differences have you noticed compared to the Forward team you belonged to previously?
“Having a team principal like Sito helps a lot, he is a former racer who can give you a lot of advice. The team is also a winning team, it has a lot of experience and this makes you feel comfortable. In the Forward team I grew a lot, I accumulated a lot of experience and got some good results: there were a few difficult moments, so much so that at a certain point I thought I should have quit because of a lack of a bike, but the situation then got better. "
Is there a rider from the past that inspires you?
"I have always admired Kevin Schwantz a lot: he was always an over-the-top rider, sometimes he crashed despite being first with several seconds advantage, he was really a character".
Would you like to try a 500cc bike or a Formula 1 car?
"It would be a difficult choice, but I would say the 500, especially if they let me try Doohan’s 500".
Last question. You can steal three skills from three MotoGP riders, what do you steal and from whom?
"I'd like to have Dovizioso's management skills, Marquez's pure talent and the longevity of Valentino, who after many years continues to put himself at stake again and raise the bar."