Features 22 Jun 2023

Three Things: Australians in WorldSSP

A closer look at our riders competing in the category in 2023.

With three Australians competing on a regular basis in the 2023 Supersport World Championship (WorldSSP) and World Supersport Challenge, there’s no shortage of talent to support as they take on the best in the category. For this Three Things feature, CycleOnline takes a closer look at how Oli Bayliss, Luke Power and Tom Edwards have fared in the opening rounds this year. 

Image: Supplied.

Oli Bayliss (D34G Racing)

2023 marks the second season for Oli Bayliss in the Supersport World Championship, and the highly-capable 19-year-old made the switch from the Barni Spark Racing to D34G Racing for this year’s campaign. After concluding pre-season testing seventh fastest at Phillip Island, unfavourable circumstances at the opening round in Australia meant P10 was his best race result of the weekend, despite having to take evasive action in race two. Starting from the fifth row in Indonesia, Bayliss charged to a solid P8 finish for race one at Mandalika but was impacted heavily at round three in Assen by a fractured left toe sustained in FP1, ultimately causing him to be declared unfit ahead of race two. Bayliss returned at Catalunya with a challenging weekend seeing him notch a 17-DNF scorecard, but an improved outing in Misano saw him just shy of a top 10 in race two, taking the chequered flag in P11. Bayliss’ best result in WorldSSP to date came at Estoril last year where he was P6 in the second race, and the number 32 enters Donington next weekend 15th in the championship standings.

Image: Supplied.

Tom Edwards (YART Yamaha)

Yart Yamaha rider Tom Edwards has delivered some breakout performances this year in WorldSSP and is a key contender in the WorldSSP Challenge. The World Supersport Challenge takes place at the European rounds of the Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) and competes alongside the Supersport World Championship, with the leading challenge rider in each race recognised alongside the WorldSSP podium place-getters in parc ferme. Edwards’ first outing in the series this year came at Assen, qualifying 22nd before he was taken out in race one by another rider.  He elevated to a P15 and points-scoring result in race two, ending a challenging weekend with a positive. A standout qualifying performance during the following round at Catalunya saw him line-up P4 on the grid, just half a second from pole, and the number 71 was able to conclude a promising weekend in Spain as the leading WorldSSP Challenge rider in race two. At the most recent round in San Marino, Edwards scored more points with an outright 13th place in race two, and is second in the WorldSSP Challenge standings ahead of Donington next weekend.

Luke Power (Motozoo ME AIR Racing)

Debuting in the World Supersport Championship this year, Power – like Edwards – is only competing in the European rounds as part of the WorldSSP Challenge. The 18-year-old competed last year in the MotoAmerica Supersport Championship, scoring two podiums with the Suzuki-equipped 3D Motorsports team before making the switch to the world championship this year onboard a Kawasaki with Motozoo ME AIR Racing. Despite a double DNF at Assen on debut, Power has absorbed a wealth of information across the three rounds he has competed in so far, scoring a season-best result of P23 outright last time out at Misano in race two. He will be one to watch as he continues to build and work towards the point-scoring positions.