BAYLISS DETERMINED FOR A STRONG FINISH IN THE FINAL WORLDSSP RACE OF 2022 SEASON
Our only Australian rider on the grid, Oli Bayliss (BARNI Spark Racing Team) is flying the flag high and proud in the World Supersport Championship. Returning one of the biggest racing names around to the WorldSBK paddock, Oli Bayliss, son of three-time WorldSBK Champion Troy Bayliss, made his full-time debut in the WorldSBK paddock this year.
This weekend saw Bayliss race for the first time at his home round as a full-time World Supersport competitor, and the 19-year-old Queenslander said he’s been waiting for this moment all year.
“I tried to race here in World Supersport in 2020 as a wildcard rider but things didn’t go to plan with the bike breaking down before the first race. So to be here this weekend, it’s great. We have a good crowd, and the atmosphere is nice. Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t been too great and has been on and off. At the end of the day, it’s just good to be racing back at home at a track I know very well.” Oli said after Race 1 of the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round.
Bayliss started his home round strong, finishing the 45-minute Free Practice 1 session in 4th.
“Yeah, I expected to go a little quicker in the first session to be honest, just from knowing what times I have done around Phillip Island. The first session was really good, but in the second Free Practice session we didn’t make much progress, but we knew what direction we needed to go with the Ducati Panigale V2. Unfortunately, for qualifying and the race, the conditions were terrible. In qualifying at the start of the race, conditions were wet but it didn’t take too long for the track to start drying towards the end of the race.”
“In the first race, it came down to not riding this bike in the wet, so we didn’t have a wet set up and I also haven’t ridden in those conditions for a very long time either so it was a big confidence thing for me, and I knew it was going to be difficult. I think Sunday whether it is wet or dry, I am confident we will have a much better result.”
In a qualifying session that took many by surprise in the opening 10 minutes, Dominique Aegerter (Ten Kate Racing) took an early gamble with tyre choice that lead him to dominate the first half of the Tissot Superpole Session. With 5 minutes left on the clock, the newly crowned World Supersport Champion was lapping over 4 seconds clear from second, leaving only two riders in the field lapping within the qualifying cut-off time of 105%. Speaking with Oli about his Superpole session, he said tyre choice played a big part in his qualifying result of 14th.
“I didn’t realise how dry the track was in Superpole from the areas you could physically see. It was a little bit wet, but there wasn’t a dry line down the start / finish straight so at the start of Superpole, I did 2 or 3 laps on full wets (tyres) and it didn’t look like that was the tyre I was going to do the fastest time on. I came in for a quick pit stop, and then yeah we didn’t make the most of it. I felt good with the slick rear and intermediate front, but unfortunately, I made a mistake on my fastest lap, so I know my result could have been faster but you know, sometimes this is just what happens.”
“If we didn’t make this mistake, I definitely could have gone a bit quicker and maybe if I had one more lap, but I am sure everyone wanted to do one more lap out there.”
In the penultimate race of the 2022 World Supersport Championship, Bayliss managed to bring it home in 12th place in what were some very trying conditions around the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
“Although it is 12th place, to be honest, I feel it is not that special. We were quite far off from the leading group. It came down to the fact that the team and I both don’t have a lot of experience in the wet, so we understand what route we have to go down with the bike if it is wet for Race 2. I am hoping for a dry track tomorrow to really show what myself and the team can do around here, but I think even if it is wet, we can still improve from my race 1 result.”
World Supersport resumes on track today at 10.55pm AEDST with warm-up, followed by Race 2 and 2.30pm.