DesmoSport Ducati press release:
DesmoSport Ducati is pleased to confirm triple Superbike world champion and MotoGP race winner Troy Bayliss as its rider for the 2018 Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK), making his return to full-time competition for the first time since retiring almost a full decade ago.
Bayliss, 48, is the co-owner of DesmoSport Ducati alongside team manager Ben Henry and will aim to capture the national championship that he just fell short of as runner-up in 1997 prior to commencing his remarkable international career.
“It was a situation we first considered when Callum was injured,” Bayliss explained after this year’s DesmoSport Ducati team regular Callum Spriggs was ruled out through injury during the middle stages of the season. “Obviously, it was a big call and it didn’t quite feel right at the time. Since then I have tested the bike and completed a lot of miles both in practice and racing the 300 class.
“Initially I did want to see another young guy on the bike, but after I rode it I felt that I needed to contest the championship and try and win myself the elusive Australian Superbike title. I definitely feel like I have some unfinished business. I have a bit of work to do in terms of fitness, but after testing the bike and running it at the Adelaide Motorsport Festival I feel I am definitely up to the task.”
DesmoSport Ducati team co-owner Ben Henry – himself a longtime ASBK racer at the elite level – looks forward to operating the organisation with Bayliss on-track aboard Ducati’s 1299 Panigale R Final Edition and is confident that he will be truly competitive when the lights go out at round one.
“It really is exciting for the DesmoSport Ducati team,” commented Henry. “There has been a lot of planning to ensure this move is a success and I can’t put it into words how much I look forward to seeing Troy on the bike again for the full series. It’s so good for so many people and I appreciate Troy’s commitment to give back to the sport in this way. It’s really, really positive for the team and everybody involved.
“I’m looking forward to creating the environment around Troy that I believe will help secure us another Australian Superbike Championship in 2018. We are a few years into the DesmoSport Ducati project now and have learnt so much during 2016 and 2017. I’m confident that the staff we have at Cube Performance Centre on the Gold Coast have made a big impact in terms of development with the experience we have there and I honestly believe we are in the position now to create a platform that’s going to be hard to beat next season.”
Bayliss will make his official return to racing when the season commences on 23-25 February at the iconic Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Victoria, fittingly alongside the opening round of the 2018 Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) on the same weekend. He was world champion in 2001, 2006 and 2008 – all aboard factory Ducati machinery.
Like DesmoSport Ducati on Facebook and visit www.asbk.com.au for further information. Cube Performance Centre also has an exclusive DesmoSport Ducati section on its website, available to view at www.cubeperformancecentre.com.au/desmosport-ducati now.