Australian motorcycling legend, 45 year old Troy Bayliss, will race at the Superbike World Championship season opener at Phillip Island this weekend – replacing injured rider Davide Giugliano who crashed in testing on Mondayand injured his back. Bayliss will race the Aruba.it Racing Ducati Panigale R under his famous number “21”.
The three times former world superbike champion and MotoGP winner, has flown to Melbourne from his home on the Gold Coast this afternoon, in preparation for Sunday’s two 22 lap races in the Swann sponsored round. Bayliss, a long time competitor for Ducati who has remained an ambassador since his retirement at the end of 2008, will be on track from 11.45 am Friday for first practice.
The Australian legend will take on the world’s best superbike young guns – some of the 25 strong field are more than half his age including 19 year old French Kawasaki rider, Christophe Ponsson.
The father of three who was born in Taree, retired from racing on a high when he won his third world superbike championship. He has not competed in a world championship round since. The last time he raced at Phillip Island, on March 2, 2008 on the then new Ducati 1098, he won both races. Over his world supers career he won six races at the island, an achievement only bettered by his compatriot Troy Corser who scored seven victories.
Bayliss replaces the injured Davide Giugliano who crashed in testing on Monday afternoon at the Victorian circuit and suffered small fractures to his L1 and L2 vertebrae. He is unable to return to racing for a period of 90 days. Giugliano has proven the Ducati Panigale R bike to be very fast, quickest at Jerez in late January testing and also in the top pack at the island in Monday’s morning test session, prior to his afternoon crash.
Once the Ducati seat became available, Bayliss was keen to race especially on the occasion of a record 25 years of world superbike racing at Phillip Island.
“I want to start by saying that I really feel for Davide and that it’s a real shame for his season to be starting this way, “
“The desire to be able to return to the track and see my home crowd and the Ducatisti has always been strong, ever since I last raced and then also to race at Phillip Island, one of my favourite tracks as they celebrate 25 years of world superbikes.
“This gave me the idea to compete as a wildcard and work with the Ducati superbike technicians once again.
“I know it’s going to be a very difficult weekend, also because it’s a while since I’ve ridden the superbike but I do know the track weel and so hope to get back into it after a few laps.
“I’ll try to enjoy myself and will of course do my best to score a good result and put on a good show for the fans.”
Bayliss is one of Australia’s most prolific winners in the world of motorcycling racing having amassed 52 wins and 94 podiums in world superbike racing with Ducati, and one win and five podiums in MotoGP competition. He won his world superbike championships in 2001, 2006 and 2008 – all for Ducati.
Since his retirement from world championship racing in 2008, Bayliss has stayed both physically and mentally race fit. Last year he won the Aussie dirt track and supermoto titles and is looking at racing grand national AMA flat track events in America this year
Troy also has developed his own flat-track dirt event, the Baylisstic Scramble, which will be staged this weekend at Phillip Island on a new course built behind Lukey Heights. But now with his commitment to the Ducati world superbike squad on the Phillip Island bitumen, he’ll be a busy man and plans to juggle the dirt and the track.
The opening round of 2015 FIM Superbike World Championship, Swann round, will be held this Friday to Sunday, February 20-22 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit. Action starts Friday at 9am with practice and first qualifying; final qualifying Saturday; and two 22 lap races in world superbike (noon and 2.40pm) and one 18 lap race in world supersport (1.10pm) on Sunday.
For event information go to www.worldsbk.com.au. Tickets available at gate – Kids 15 and under are free.
Troy Bayliss – Record At Phillip Island
Six times winner – 2002 – race two; 2006 – race one; 2007 – race one and two; 2008 – race one and two (retirement year) . All for Ducati.
His Retirement Year – 2008
2008 saw Bayliss continue racing for the factory Ducati team, riding the new Ducati 1098. At the season opener at the Losail circuit in Qatar, Troy won the race one to give Ducati their first win with the new 1098 model. He also won both races at Philip Island on what was his final appearance at his home round. At Misano he took his record to nine podiums in ten starts at the track. Conversely, his victory in race 1 at Donington Park was his first win at the circuit. He came within three corners of clinching the title at Vallelunga, but crashed out at a low-speed corner to ensure that Troy Corser and Noriyuki Haga retained a mathematical hope. He clinched the title in the next round by finishing 3rd at Magny Cours, and put the seal on it by winning race 2 – his 50th World Superbike victory. He took a double victory in his final World Superbike meeting at Portimão