News 21 Nov 2015

Bayliss joins forces with ASBK champions in new Ducati team

Mike Jones to pilot 1299 Panigale in superbike title defence.

Image: Alex Gobert.

Image: Alex Gobert.

Ducati hero Troy Bayliss will lead an all-new factory Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) team in 2016, fielding reigning series champion Mike Jones on board a 1299 Panigale S.

Bayliss has teamed up with Ben Henry of Cube Racing to form the DesmoSport Ducati team, contesting the ASBK series in an official manufacturer-supported effort.

The team will contest the independent 2016 ASBK series from February before turning its attention to the Troy Bayliss Events (TBE)-led motoSBK series in October next year – that series running through the summer into 2017.

“I’m excited about this,” Bayliss told “Warren [Lee, NF Importers CEO] and I spoke about this three years ago, but at the time we didn’t think it was right. Now it’s come around and we think it is the right time.

“We’ve aligned with Ben, who has done a great job with what he’s had to work with in the past, as well as Mike and the riders – I have been helping out young Robbie Menzies as well.

“Ben being involved in the team so long, knowing the ins and outs, plus my knowledge with the backing of Ducati and other supporters makes for a good line-up. It’s out there now and we’re keen as, we just have to work away and do it together properly now.”

It’s a rare opportunity for Jones after an ultimately successful 2015 campaign riding a privateer ZX-10R under the Cube Racing banner, delighted to be working with triple World Superbike Champion Bayliss. His first scheduled outing on the bike will come in Sydney on 6 December.

“Obviously I’m very, very excited about the opportunity presented to me,” Jones explained. “With Ducati’s fantastic 1299 Panigale and the brand behind it, then to have Troy Bayliss and Ben Henry guiding the team is great for me.

“As the current Australian Superbike Champion I think all of this together should make for a very strong 2016 championship. To have the opportunity to ride the 1299 Panigale is fantastic, I’m really looking forward to riding the bike and seeing what it’s capable of – I just couldn’t be happier.”

Henry will hang up his helmet at the close of this season to focus on his team management and ownership role in DesmoSport Ducati. A longtime racer and more recently team owner, the additional support and alignment with Bayliss is a major step forward.

“I’m really happy because I’ve been kicking around racing as a privateer and running a privateer team for a long time, so obviously to have the support of a premium brand like Ducati gives me a lot of confidence,” Henry said.

“I’m so grateful for the chance to run this team and I think we can do a good job. We’ve been doing a good job standing on our own two feet, so with this kind of support I hope that we will be hard to beat – we’re really excited to get underway.”

It’s the first time Ducati has been directly involved as a factory superbike team domestically since 2010 when Motologic – now operating Team Honda Racing – raced with Jamie Stauffer and Jordan Burgess.

TBE announced just yesterday at the Sydney Motorcycle Show that it will steer the direction of the ASBK series from late 2016 onwards in a new summer-based format, under the new motoSBK brand.