Troy Bayliss is nearly 50, fit as a mallee bull and still at the top of his road racing game.
And the three-time WorldSBK champion proved it again today by setting the fastest time in opening practice for round one of the 2019 Australian Superbike Championship at Phillip Island, the supporting class for the 2019 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship round this weekend (Feb 22-24).
The irrepressible Taree (NSW) native set a best lap of 1min32.478secs around the grand prix circuit, only just shy of the current lap record of 1:32.224 held by Wayne Maxwell.
Bayliss is riding the superseded 1299cc V-twin Ducati in round one but – in an ominous sign for his rivals – he’ll soon be aboard the Italian company’s all-new high-revving and light-weight V-four which is making its debut in the WorldSBK ranks this weekend with Alvaro Bautista, Chaz Davies and Eugene Laverty.
“I’ve already ridden the V-four… and I feels more like a race bike – it revs a lot more. It reminds me of 2006 when I rode the MotoGP bike with Loris Capirossi,” said Bayliss. “I personally like the old twins but the new bike will be fun to ride.”
Yamaha’s Aiden Wagner (1:32.873), Maxwell (Suzuki, 1:33.098) and Josh Waters (Suzuki, 1:33.131) were next on the timesheets today, with more practice and qualifying tomorrow ahead of three 12-lap races on Saturday and Sunday.
The last time Aussie Superbikes competed at Phillip Island, in October 2018, Bayliss, Waters and Maxwell put on a superb display of front-running action.
There will also be Aussie Supersport and Supersport 300 races this weekend, with Bayliss’ 15-year-old son Oli making his debut in Supersport.
See you Trackside at the Island for a Triple-Treat
General Admission tickets and camping passes are now available at the gate. Gates open from 8am each day.
World superbikes is FREE* for kids 15 and under, and so is your bike.
As an extra bonus at WorldSBK, all three-day ticket holders are gifted FREE paddock access.
For more information go to www.worldsbk.com.au or call the toll free WorldSBK Hotline 1300 728 007
*Children 15 and under are free and must be accompanied by a paying adult.