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Official: Troy Bayliss To Race For Ducati WSBK Team In Thailand

Troy Bayliss is to race again in World Superbikes. The Australian will once again replace the injured Davide Giugliano in the Ducati squad at the Thai round of WSBK at the Chang circuit. Whether Bayliss will also replace Giugliano at Aragon and Assen is yet to be decided.

Official confirmation came as rumors started to emerge this morning, after Bayliss posted a rather coy status update on his Facebook page, stating only "See you soon." Unsurprisingly, that set Social Media ablaze with speculation, with various news sources claiming with varying degrees of confidence that the decision had already been taken. Their eagerness was vindicated earlier, when Ducati finally issued an official press release confirming Bayliss' return.

Having Bayliss replace Giugliano for a second time has benefits for both Bayliss and Ducati. The Australian suffered an engine problem at Phillip Island, eating into Giugliano's engine allocation. However, a lack of clarity in the rules suggest that Bayliss could be granted his own allocation if he competes in three WSBK rounds, leaving Giugliano with a full eight engines to complete the remainder of the season. The situation hinges on the wording of the rule for wild card and one event riders. It is clear that the intention of the rules is for Bayliss to use Giugliano's allocation, but an argument could be made the other way.

The benefit for Bayliss is that he would at last be able to see just how competitive he really can be. The Australian veteran was fast on occasion at Phillip Island, but faded with tire problems in both races. Coming to that event with no time on the bike and little experience on the latest generation of tires, he had a clear disadvantage compared to the remainder of the WSBK field. With one race under his belt, he should be able to do better at Chang than he did at Phillip Island.

The fact that the Thai circuit is new for everyone should also work in Bayliss' favor. With nobody having tested at the track, the playing field is much more level, giving Bayliss a better chance of being competitive. Whether he can be remains to be seen.

Below is the official press release from Ducati.

Troy Bayliss will return to the track for Round 2 of the Superbike World Championship in Thailand, riding the Ducati Panigale R for the Racing – Ducati Superbike Team alongside Chaz Davies

Arezzo/Borgo Panigale (Italy), 4 March 2015: The Racing – Ducati Superbike Team is pleased to announce that three-times world champion Troy Bayliss will return to the track with the Italian team and the Panigale R for Round 2 of the World Superbikes, taking place from 20-22 March at the Chang International Circuit in the Buriram province of Thailand.

Bayliss, who will turn 46 on March 30, already competed alongside Chaz Davies at the opening round of Phillip Island in place of Davide Giugliano, injured during the first day of testing, and will substitute for the Italian rider once again, this time at the Thai track, new not only to the Australian but to all of the Superbike riders.

The Australian rider commented: “I’m really excited to be able to ride the Panigale R again and I thank the Racing - Ducati Superbike Team for the opportunity. It will be great to work with the team again. Compared to the Phillip Island round, organised pretty much at the last minute, this time I’ve had the chance to train and prepare myself properly. I’m really motivated and feeling ready; I can’t wait to get back on track!”

Davide Giugliano continues with his recovery, which requires him to rest for another few weeks before recommencing with a measured training programme. He aims to be back on his Panigale R in time for the fifth championship round of Imola, taking place from 8-10 May.

No decision has yet been taken by the Italian squad with regard to the substitution of Giugliano for the rounds of Aragón (12 April) and Assen (19 April).

The Racing Week On Wednesday (On Friday) - News Round Up For The Week Of 27th February

It has been a busy week for racing, with the World Superbike season opener at Phillip Island followed by the MotoGP test at Sepang, including the extra day of testing on Michelins. There has been a lot of news, but between's star WSBK reporter Jared Earle and I, we got most of it covered, with an extra bonus of photos from top Australian shooter Andrew Gosling.

But there have been one or two things we may have missed, so here's our weekly round up of racing news.

Scratching the itch: Young Gun vs Old Master

There were a lot of happy faces at the Australian round of World Superbikes. Troy Bayliss, three-time World Superbike champion and arguably, WSBK's last superstar, made a return to the series, replacing the injured Davide Giugliano on the Ducati Panigale. The replacement was at very short notice, Giugliano having crashed during the test which preceded the opening round and fractured a couple of vertebrae.

Expectations among the fans were high, unrealistically so, with many expecting Bayliss to end up on the podium. They overlooked the fact that Bayliss has not raced a Superbike for five years, and was stepping in to race against riders in the middle of their careers, and coming off a month of preseason testing. In the end, Bayliss acquitted himself extraordinarily well, finishing in 13th in race 1, 16th in race 2. He had run much further up the order early on, but had pitted with tire troubles, perhaps a result of a lack of testing with the latest generation of 17-inch Pirelli tires.

The trouble with scratching an itch is that it often just makes the itch worse. With Giugliano out for 90 days, that leaves the factory Ducati team with at least three, perhaps four more races to find a replacement. Though Bayliss had at first said the Phillip Island appearance would be a one-off, he has been bitten by the bug again. Racing flat track in Australia helps keep his racing habit under control, but it appears that it is merely methadone, not the hardcore heroin of world championship road racing.

So Ducati have to make a choice for a replacement, at least for the upcoming Thai round of WSBK at the Chang circuit. Initially, their options had been official test rider Michele Pirro or Xavi Fores, racing with Ducati in the German IDM Superbike championship. With Pirro set to complete a MotoGP test at Qatar from 14th to 17th of March, that would leave him with a day and a half to get to Thailand, ready for practice on Friday. Fores was looking more and more certain of getting the WSBK ride.

Bayliss throwing his hat into the ring (or so we may deduce from the post he made on social media recently) has complicated the situation. Since then, Spanish fans have started a counter campaign to get Xavi Fores the ride. Using the hashtag #XaviForésWSBK, they have been tweeting their support for the rider.

Who will it be? With Bayliss suffering an engine problem at the opening round, there may be a tactical advantage for the team to allowing Bayliss to have the ride. WSBK's arcane engine rules mean that if he races in two rounds, he uses his own allocation, not Giugliano's, who he is replacing. Two factors suggest it might be Fores, though. The Spaniard is younger, fitter, and had already planned a couple of WSBK wildcards with his IDM team, 3C Ducati Corse. He is the obvious candidate to replace Giugliano at the other rounds the Italian must miss. The second, and perhaps more important one, is that Bayliss would need the blessing of his wife Kim. Kim Bayliss was a major factor in Bayliss' decision to retire, and she would be far from delighted if he were to start racing again. Bayliss is a genuine family man, and if push came to shove, would choose his family over racing.

A decision is expected soon. The fans, meanwhile, are on tenterhooks.

EBR – Extremely Bashed 'Round?

Davide Giugliano is not the only rider injured at Phillip Island. Niccolo Canepa, the Italian rider who has been extremely impressive on the EBR 1190RX, snapped a tendon in his left ankle in a crash in race one. Though no bones were broken in the crash, the tendon is likely to require surgery to repair. Though the injury was severe, Canepa is confident of racing at the Thai round. Should that not be possible, he would at least have three extra weeks in which to recover.

Despite denials, the Melandri saga continues

It has been a tough return to MotoGP for Marco Melandri. The Italian didn't really want to switch to MotoGP, but was left little choice when Aprilia announced they would be winding up their World Superbike squad to focus on MotoGP. Melandri followed them to the premier class, but his reluctance has been on public display ever since.

Melandri has totally failed to gel with the Bridgestone tires. He has no confidence and no faith in them, and has found it hard to push. His struggles have left him dead last in the standings in the two Sepang tests, and a couple of seconds behind his teammate, Alvaro Bautista.

Seeing his predicament, there have been calls from many quarters – most notably, respected World Superbike journalist Paolo Gozzi – for Aprilia to swap Melandri and Jordi Torres, who is racing for the Aprilia-backed Red Devils team in WSBK. The argument runs that such a change would allow Melandri to chase a WSBK title again, and give Torres a chance to help develop the Aprilia RS-GP.

Over the past week, both Aprilia Corse boss Romano Albesiano and Marco Melandri have denied that such a swap is possible. Speaking at Sepang, Albesiano told "we haven't considered a change like that. I am absolutely convinced that Marco has the potential to do well in MotoGP." For his part, Melandri has said he has had to change his attitude, and is thinking more like a tester than a racer. That, for a man with ambition, is a very tough thing to do.

Then, of course, there is Jordi Torres. The Spaniard is delighted with how well he has started the season, and believes he can be competitive in World Superbikes. Far more so than on the Aprilia in MotoGP. A swap would not be an attractive option for Torres.

So Melandri remains in MotoGP. The road will be long and hard.

Hoodlums on Hondas

The oppressive heat of Sepang can cause tempers to fray, riders responding rather more forcefully than they might otherwise. But sometimes, the gesturing is justified, rather than the result of heat-induced irritation.

Such was the case between Scott Redding and Karel Abraham on the final day of the Sepang test. Abraham had been cruising for a tow on the Cardion AB Honda RC213V-RS, and he managed to get in the way of Redding on a number of occasions, rolling off in front the Marc VDS rider when he was on a hot lap. Redding did not take this kindly, and a lot of fist shaking and gesticulating ensued.

It was not the first time Abraham found himself embroiled with other riders at Sepang. The day before, it had been the turn of Cal Crutchlow to vent his ire on the Czech rider, for exactly the same tactics.

Andrew Gosling Shoots WSBK Round 1 - 2015 Phillip Island Race Day Photos

The WSBK season opener produced some epic battles. Haslam, Rea and Davies gave the fans their money's worth

Lorenzo Zanetti's switch to MV Agusta saw him podium at the first attempt

Michael van der Mark. Made his mark on World Superbikes alright

Chaz prepares

Larry Pegram, the old man of World Superbikes

Alex Lowes: fast in testing, fast in practice, but suffered problems on race day

The MV may have dominated WSS, but it still has some way to go in WSBK


Randy De Puniet's debut in World Superbikes left him battered and bruised

Justice at last for Leon Haslam

Future champion? He certainly got off to a good start

Give 'em what they want

Jules Cluzel is leading a Moto2 charge in World Supersport

Not bad for a new boy. Pere Riba must have been happy with the way things went for his rider

If you'd like to see more of Andrew Gosling's work, head on over to his website, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter. If you'd like to have desktop-sized versions of the fantastic photos featured on the site, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. If you'd like a print of one of the shots you see here, then send Andrew an email and he'll be happy to help.

Andrew Gosling Shoots WSBK Round 1 - 2015 Phillip Island Photos From Friday

Bayliss is back

Hopes are high for #65

MV Agusta, stripped naked

The switch to World Supersport has done Gino Rea good

The most photographed motorcycle this weekend

Kyle Smith: definitely a name to watch in WSS

The transition from MotoGP to World Superbikes is not easy, as Randy De Puniet is finding out

Marco Faccani, teammate to Kenan Sofuoglu in WSS. An unenviable position indeed

TB21, ready to roll

Fastest so far. The Suzukis go well at Phillip Island. Alex Lowes goes fast everywhere

The nut between the handlebars?

Show time

Mean & Green: Christian Gamarino is one of many Kawasaki ZX-6R's contesting World Supersport this year

Linkage loveliness

Kenan Sofuoglu, the man to beat in World Supersport

Matteo Baiocco at work

If you'd like to see more of Andrew Gosling's work, head on over to his website, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter. If you'd like to have desktop-sized versions of the fantastic photos featured on the site, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. If you'd like a print of one of the shots you see here, then send Andrew an email and he'll be happy to help.

Troy Bayliss To Make Shock Return To World Superbikes, To Replace Injured David Giugliano

Troy Bayliss is to swing his leg over a World Superbike Ducati again. Ducati today shocked fans and media by announcing that the three-time WSBK champion is to take the place of the injured Davide Giugliano, who is out for three months after injuring two vertebrae in a crash during testing. Currently, Bayliss will only replace Giugliano at Phillip Island, with Ducati test rider Michele Pirro pencilled in for the remaining races the Italian is likely to miss.

The decision to replace Giugliano with Bayliss came at the request of the Australian himself. In a press release, Ducati said that Bayliss had asked the factory to be allowed to race as a wildcard at Phillip Island, and when injury forced Giugliano out, Ducati were happy to agree to his request. The factory had not originally planned to replace the injured Italian, as test rider Michele Pirro is due to start the second MotoGP test at Sepang on Monday, taking the Desmosedici GP15 out for its first full laps on a proper race track. That currently has a higher priority than replacing Giugliano, so Bayliss' offer was serendipitous.

The ride at Phillip Island comes as a remarkable return for Bayliss. The 45-year-old Australian officially retired from World Superbikes at the end of the 2008 season, after wrapping up his third World Superbike title on a third different Ducati. His retirement was rumored at the time to not have been entirely voluntary: it was said that his wife Kim had given him an ultimatum, demanding that it was time to stop. After an abortive attempt at racing V8 Supercars, Bayliss turned his attention to flat track and cycling, both of which he practices keenly. Bayliss is still fast on a motorcycle: he won the 2014 edition of the Troy Bayliss Classic, the flat track race which he organizes every winter, and which features some top racing names from Australia and abroad. He also regularly rides a Superbike, having worked as a tester for Ducati until two years ago, and still taking bikes out on track, sometimes offering two-up rides at circuits.

Will Bayliss be competitive? There is no doubting his fitness, and there is no doubting his will to compete, but it has been some time since he raced a Superbike. His results are unlikely to matter to anyone but himself, the Australian remains extraordinarily popular both at home and abroad. On an interesting sidenote, the return of Bayliss will see him having competed on four different generations of Ducati. He started on the 996, which later became the 998, and won a championship on it in 2001. When he returned from his spell in MotoGP, he raced the 999, winning a championship in that in 2006. He then raced the bike's successor, the 1098, winning a third title on that bike in 2008, his last year in the series. Now, he will race the 1199 Panigale R. It is truly a remarkable and unique record.

In a press release issued by the Ducati team, Bayliss was quoted as follows:

“I want to start by saying that I really feel for Davide and that it’s a real shame for his season to be starting in this way. The desire to be able to return to the track and see the home crowd and the Ducatisti has always been strong, ever since I last raced and then also Phillip Island, one of my favourite tracks, is celebrating its 25th anniversary of World Superbikes. This gave me the idea to compete as a wildcard and work with the Ducati Superbike technicians once again. I know it’s going to be a very difficult weekend, also because it’s a while since I’ve ridden the Superbike but I do know the track well and so hope to get back into it after a few laps. I’ll try to enjoy myself and will of course be doing my best to score a good result and put on a good show for the public.” 

2015 Phillip Island WSBK Test Photos By Andrew Gosling

Alex Lowes proved the Suzuki is still fast around Phillip Island

His Chazness

Superquadro. Desmodromico. E bellissimo!

Revelation of the test was surely Jordi Torres. He is getting the hang of WSBK fast

Holding out for a Hero? EBR may have found one in Niccolo Canepa

Juggling fuel. Race bikes want it in a different spot to road bikes

New boy Kyle Smith dragging elbows Moto2 style

An Aussie riding a pom bike? Sam Lambert rides at Phillip Island as a wildcard this weekend

Most serious face in racing? Leon Haslam is a prime candidate

... but he faces stiff competition from Nico Terol

Unmistakeably MV

This man has his sights set on the World Supersport championship this year. I wouldn't bet against him

His teammate was faster, but you can't rule Tom Sykes out

When he was riding, Gino Rea was fast. But an old foot injury didn't help

Form following function

If the fans had their way, all of the bikes would be carbon black

Lorenzo Zanetti had a decent year last year. The MV Agusta offers new chances in 2015

A lot of people have this man at the top of their list of favorites

The best looking tail in racing?



If you'd like to see more of Andrew Gosling's work, head on over to his website, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter. If you'd like to have desktop-sized versions of the fantastic photos featured on the site, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. If you'd like a print of one of the shots you see here, then send Andrew an email and he'll be happy to help.

Official Photos Of The Ducati Desmosedici GP15

It is difficult to overstate just how different the GP15 is from its predecessors. Some details are already clear from the press shots, but more will come tomorrow. For the moment, here is a selection of the press shots.


It's all new

Different exhaust routing, to one side of the fuel tank

Top yoke looks broadly similar to the GP14.

Lower exhaust is shorter, but will have to be extended again, as it's overheating the swingarm

Chassis is curved underneath and at the top. Much narrower and tighter, more compact

The tail is smaller, and a thing of beauty

Note the rear cambox, the engine has been tipped back much further

There's a special air intake on the left of the bike. Where it leads is a mystery for the moment

If you'd like to have desktop-sized versions of Scott's fantastic photos, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. If you'd like a print of one of the shots you see on the site, then send Scott an email and he'll be happy to help.

Silverstone Confirmed As Venue Of 2015 And 2016 British MotoGP Round

Within a day of the announcement that the British round of MotoGP would not be held at Donington Park comes confirmation that the race will be held at Silverstone. The ending of the relationship between Donington and the Circuit of Wales meant that a replacement venue had to be found at short notice, and with only Silverstone currently capable of hosting a MotoGP round, the deal was quickly arranged.

The deal will see Silverstone host the British Grand Prix in both 2015 and 2016. By then, the Circuit of Wales hopes to have obtained both permission to build on public land, and the funding to actually start to do so, with the aim of hosting the 2017 race at the new track. The circuit faces considerable obstacles before that can happen, however.

Below is the press release issued by the Circuit of Wales and Silverstone announcing the deal:

Circuit of Wales announce they have reached an agreement to run British MotoGP™ at Silverstone in August 2015

- World Series by Renault move to early September

Silverstone Circuit and Circuit of Wales have today confirmed that they have reached an agreement which will see Silverstone hosting the British round of MotoGP™ in 2015. The event will take place over the weekend of 28 – 30 August 2015 and the arrangement has secured the future of MotoGP™ racing in the UK following the recent announcement by Donington Park confirming that they will not be hosting the event.

Patrick Allen, Managing Director of Silverstone commented: “A lot of work has been done over recent years to ensure MotoGP™ fans enjoy what Silverstone has to offer and it was devastating for the venue to lose the event last autumn. I welcomed the opportunity to meet with both Dorna and the Circuit of Wales recently so that we could try and find a way to keep MotoGP™ in the UK and racing at Silverstone. Two wheel racing is as much a part of Silverstone’s heritage as four wheel racing and I am obviously delighted to be in a position to announce we are hosting both the F1™ and MotoGP™ Grands Prix in 2015.”

“We have recently introduced a family friendly pricing policy for the Formula 1 British Grand Prix which is proving extremely popular and over the next two weeks I will be working closely with my team at Silverstone to launch a ticket model for MotoGP™ that I hope will be equally well received by fans.”

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers who have moved their event dates to enable us to accommodate MotoGP™. Particular thanks must go to Renault Sport who have been extremely helpful in working with us to move the date to September 5th & 6th of their World Series by Renault event.”

Patrice Ratti, Renault Sport Technologies Managing Director: ‘‘Through our close relationship with Silverstone, we have been able to quickly find a fully satisfactory solution. This will allow the passionate fans to come in droves on 5 and 6 September to attend this comeback in Great-Britain which gathered an average of more than 100.000 people on the last editions.’’

Michael Carrick, Chief Executive of Circuit of Wales commented “We are delighted to announce that we have reached agreement with Silverstone to host the 2015 and 2016 British rounds of MotoGP™. We want to thank the new management at Silverstone, our partners at Dorna and our investors for the rapid response needed to support the 2015 event when it became clear that we would be unlikely to conclude the contractual arrangements at Donington. We are delighted to secure the future of the event for the next two years while our circuit in Wales is under construction. Today’s announcement ensures we will have the 2015 MotoGP™ event in the UK.”

“We continue to advance our development activity on the Circuit of Wales and are focused on the upcoming public inquiry into the deregistration of the common land. We expect construction to commence once this inquiry has concluded.”

Moscow Round Canceled, World Superbike Calendar Reduced To 13 Rounds

The World Superbike calendar has been reduced to 13 events. The Russian round of WSBK, scheduled to be held at the Moscow Raceway on 5th July has been canceled, after the event organizer, YMS Promotion, failed to provide the contract guarantees required by the contract. As a further consequence, the Yakhnich Motorsport Team have also lost their slot on the 2015 World Supersport grid, which was tied in with the Russian round.

The cancellation of the Russian round did not come as a surprise. The Russian WSBK round is a legacy of the last years of Infront running the series. Infront and YMS signed a ten-year deal to organize a World Superbike round in Russia, but continuing political instability in Russia, tensions between Europe and Russia over Ukraine, and murky regional politics have made it impossible to stage a race there. The round was placed on the calendar automatically, because of the existing contract, but it was never expected to actually take place.

The Russian round of World Superbikes will not be replaced. Instead, the series will run 13 rounds in 2015. Below is the press release and updated 2015 WSBK calendar.

2015 WSBK Calendar update

Wednesday 11 February 2015 - Dorna WSBK Organization and the FIM, Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme, regret to inform of the cancellation of the Russian Round scheduled to be held at Moscow Raceway on July 5th 2015.

The Russian event promoter, YMS Promotion, has not provided the required contract guarantees defined by DWO to confirm and implement the event organisation.

The Round will not be replaced and the 2015 WSBK Calendar will consist of the 13 confirmed events as included in the enclosed document.

As a consequence, the Moscow Region Yakhnich Motorsport Team which applied to the FIM Supersport World Championship will not participate in the series for the 2015 season.

FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championships
FIM Superstock 1000 cc Cup

2015 calendar, 11 February

22 February Australia Phillip Island GP Circuit X X    
22 March Thailand Chang International Circuit X X    
12 April Spain MotorLand Aragón X X X X**
19 April The Netherlands TT Circuit Assen X X X X
10 May Italy Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola X X X X
24 May UK Donington Park X X X  
07 June Portugal Autódromo Internacional do Algarve* X X X X
21 June Italy Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli X X X X
05 July Russia Moscow Raceway* X X    
19 July USA Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca X      
02 August Malaysia Sepang International Circuit X X    
20 September Spain Circuito de Jerez X X X X
04 October France Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours X X X X
18 October Qatar Losail International Circuit* X X    

* STC = Subject to contract
** Two races for the STK600 class

Circuit Of Wales Denies Funding Issues Cause Donington Contract Breach

The Circuit of Wales has disputed the chain of events that led to Donington Park rescinding the contract the two parties had to organize the British Grand Prix at the Leicestershire circuit. In a statement issued to the press, the circuit laid the blame for the breach firmly at the feet of Donington Park. Donington had claimed that they had not received the funds agreed, which were necessary to bring the British track up to the standard required to host a Grand Prix, but the Circuit of Wales statement claims that the sequence of events is precisely the reverse. Without a contract with Donington, the Circuit of Wales claims, they were unwilling to provide the funds which Donington needs for upgrades.

The statement also says that the Circuit of Wales will continue to work to host the British Grand Prix at a track in the UK. Given that only Silverstone has the necessary FIM homologation papers, that would appear to be the only venue capable of hosting a MotoGP round at short notice. As the Circuit of Wales holds a contract with Dorna for the right to organize the British GP, it is their prerogative to try to find a new venue and organize and promote a race. That will be neither cheap nor easy. With so much at stake, it is common practice for contracts such as these to have penalty clauses, should one party or the other fail to deliver on the terms of the contract. 

With the British Grand Prix less than eight months away, the Circuit of Wales have their work cut out. With Silverstone reported to already be in talks with Dorna for the rights to organize the 2015 MotoGP race, the Circuit of Wales will need to hurry.

Below is the statement issued by the Circuit of Wales:

The Circuit of Wales is disappointed to have been unable to reach a contractual agreement with Donington Park Racing Limited (DPRL) to host the British round of the 2015 Motorcycle Grand Prix World Championship.

After initially agreeing Heads of Terms with the board of DPRL in September 2014, both parties were subsequently unable to agree further terms to form a legal contract. Contrary to claims by DPRL that the Circuit of Wales is unable to meet the funding arrangements, we are unwilling to provide the significant funding that DPRL required for the necessary track upgrades to host the British Grand Prix without a signed contractual agreement. We have all of the funding necessary in place to promote and host the 2015 race in the UK. All funding for the flagship Circuit of Wales regeneration development in Blaenau Gwent is on track with works due to start later this year following the outcome of the public inquiry in March.

The Circuit of Wales will continue to promote the British round of the FIM MotoGP™World Championship and is fully committed to delivering the event later this year.