Three-time superbike world champion Troy Bayliss is coming out of retirement to take a shot at the Australian superbike championship, one of the few titles to elude him in his illustrious career.
The 49-year-old will race for the DesmoSport Ducati team, of which he is co-owner, on a 1299 Panigale R Final Edition. The Aussie is a Ducati legend, having won all three of his world titles, plus a British superbike championship and the 2006 Valencian MotoGP with the Italian brand.
Bayliss retired from full-time racing in 2008, rode as a wildcard at the Thailand and Australian rounds of World Superbike in 2015, and has spent this year supporting 13-year-old son Oli in his debut season of Supersport 300 racing and appears to have caught the racing bug again. He briefly considered a comeback as a replacement for injured team rider Callum Spriggs earlier this season, but feels ready now to launch an assault on the championship in which he finished second in 1997.
He said: “It was a situation we first considered when Callum was injured. Obviously, it was a big call and it didn’t quite feel right at the time. Since then, I have tested the bike and completed a lot of miles both in practice and racing the 300 class.
“Initially, I did want to see another young guy on the bike but after I rode it, I felt that I needed to contest the championship and try and win myself the elusive Australian Superbike title. I definitely feel like I have some unfinished business. I have a bit of work to do in terms of fitness but after testing the bike and running it at the Adelaide Motorsport Festival I feel I am definitely up to the task.”
Bayliss will be on familiar ground when he makes his comeback, as the opening round of the Australian superbike championship takes place alongside the Australian leg of the superbike world championship at Phillip Island on February 23-25.