News 27 Feb 2024

First-career WorldSSP top-five a milestone result for Bayliss

Team D34G Racing entry pushing through wrist injury.

Image: Supplied.

A maiden WorldSSP top-five at Phillip Island’s opening round of 2024 Motul Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) has marked a career milestone for Oli Bayliss, the Australian scoring the result despite undergoing wrist surgery just weeks before the weekend.

Bayliss is embarking on his third season in the WorldSSP category, and his second with the Team D34G Racing squad, however his first two campaigns have been marred by injuries – the latest a broken wrist sustained while riding at Phillip Island just three weeks ahead of the season-opener.

Receiving a medical clearance during official testing last week, the injury failed to stop the 20-year-old on his way to a career-best result during Saturday’s race one, charging from 15th on the grid to be positioned sixth at the mandatory pit stop, ultimately crossing the chequered flag in P5.

Race two was reduced to just nine laps after an oil spill from the final ASBK outing caused delays, where Bayliss settled for 10th after initially being involved in a multi-rider battle.

“After a not-so-easy start to the round, we had a good feeling in Saturday’s warm up and then an even better one in the first race,” Bayliss explained. “We had a good start and I focused on not making any mistakes.

“It was cool doing a pit-stop, and honestly the almost two-minute stop helped the pain in my wrist a lot. It was a good day overall. Race two went not too bad – [I] struggled a lot in the first couple of laps to find a good rhythm, then I found some pace which allowed me to start pushing how I wanted and put some laps together.

“Anyway, it was a pretty good first weekend of the year with the team, now time to rest up and get fully healed for Barcelona.”

Fellow Australian Tom Toparis (Stop & Seal Racing) was also quite impressive in his WorldSSP wildcard appearance, mustering up a 10-18 scorecard across the pair of races. The world championship will now head to Catalunya, Spain, on 22-24 March for the second stop of the series.