DesmoSport Ducati press release:
DesmoSport Ducati’s Troy Bayliss delivered his second-consecutive Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) podium in an inspired performance at Morgan Park, Queensland, this weekend to take third overall at round five.
After setting the pace in Friday’s opening practices, team co-owner Bayliss went on to qualify second on Saturday with a lightning-fast 1m12.784s lap-time aboard his 1299 Panigale R Final Edition.
Bayliss led no less than 10 laps in the restarted opening 16-lap encounter, only to be passed in the closing stages and finish a close second. He set the pace once again in race two, leading the first 12 laps. A mistake while running second on the penultimate lap dropped him to P4.
Still, those results saw the three-time world champion claim third overall for the round and he’s currently third in the championship standings with two rounds remaining. He also posted the fastest lap of race one at 1m13.015s, which was a new lap record at the time.
“I’m satisfied to an extent, because if I was younger I’d be really upset with the result, but honestly it was okay for us at this stage,” recalled the gritty 49-year-old. “We’re a bit disappointed because we believed we could win both races, but we were certainly amongst it at the front and put on a show – that’s always a positive.
“This round was hopefully going to be the turning point for a last-ditch run at the championship, but that’s finished now. The plan was to get pole and two race wins here, which didn’t pan out, so now we just have to aim for some wins and more good results for our DesmoSport Ducati team and sponsors.
“In race two we had made a couple of tiny changes that we thought might help, but the tyre went downhill really fast again. I had no rear brake as I overcooked it a bit and had a small run-off, so that was that – it was just one of those things. We’re still third in the points and second would be the goal, so finishing the year strongly is the only thing that we can do!”
DesmoSport Ducati team manager and co-owner Ben Henry said it was another promising weekend, impressed with Bayliss’ ability to set the pace and lead the field through much of each race. They’re now working to extract that performance over race distance, which would cap-off the season well in the final rounds.
“We went into the races pretty confident, but we will probably need to take a look at the way the races are panning out,” Henry commented. “To me, there’s a pattern that’s emerging. We have led a lot of race laps, only to fall back toward the end when we’re running out of grip. We’re trying to learn as fast as we can, trying different things.
“Of course, we’re happy to be toward the front with reliable and fast bikes. We can match anyone for lap-speed, however over race distance we are a bit off. I believed we could be in the mix to win this weekend and Troy was right there, so we will keep working away and move on to Winton now.”
The penultimate round of the 2018 ASBK season will take place at Winton Motor Raceway in Victoria on 7-9 September.
Like DesmoSport Ducati on Facebook, Follow @desmosportducati on Instagram 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.