Features 14 Dec 2017

Rewind: WorldSBK retirement of Bayliss

Back when the triple world champion hung up his helmet in 2008.

With the confirmation coming this week that Troy Bayliss would be returning for the 2018 Australian Superbike Championship with his own DesmoSport Ducati team, it comes a decade after his retirement from the Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK).

Travelling back in time to Magny-Cours, France, in the penultimate round of the 2008 season and it was Bayliss who scored 3-1 results to clinch a triumphant third-career crown on top of those that he’d previously claimed in 2001 and 2006.

“I’m extremely happy to have won my third world championship and to be able to say I have won on three different generations of the Ducati superbike,” Bayliss said at the time. “I want to thank the entire team who have worked so hard and put a lot of trust in me – together we have done a great job this season.

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“These last years with Ducati, since 2000, have been a great experience for me. This whole year has been up and down, with several riders remaining consistently fast. From half way through the season we became more confident and so there was a lot of pressure, but I’ve done what I set out to do.

“I really wanted to win on the three different Ducati superbikes. It’s just a fantastic feeling. Now I have secured the title, I’m looking forward to enjoying the last round at the brand new track of Portimao, where I’m hoping I can finish the season on a high!”

And that’s precisely what he did as part of the factory Ducati Xerox squad. With the championship trophy already in his cabinet, Bayliss went on to take pole and win both races at Portimao, Portugal, in a convincing end to his career on top of the podium.

“This was the perfect end to my racing career, to finish with pole and a double win – an absolute fantastic result,” Bayliss said. “We had a dream start today. I was a little hesitant before race one because none of us had done a lot of laps here so we weren’t sure for the tyres, but I think everyone was pretty much on the same rear.

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“The gap behind me got bigger and bigger which surprised me, but I heard that there was a big battle behind me which worked to my advantage. I was grateful for that lead though because by the end the rear was finished and Carlos [Checa] was catching me.

“We changed a few things for the second race and I have to say that bike in race two was the best bike I’ve ever ridden in my career. I’ve been doing this for many years and it was a long way to come but I got here and now I’m at the end of my career.

“I have a great team behind me and I thank all of them and the sponsors because you can’t do this without those guys. My career’s come to an end, I’ve won the championship and finished my career in one piece, so it’s incredible really. Thanks to everyone who’s supported me over the years.”

Bayliss managed to tally up a total of 52 race wins and 26 poles over nine seasons of competing in WorldSBK, with 11 of the race wins achieved during the 2008 season on the 1098 F08.