When Troy Bayliss decided to retire at the end of the 2008 World Superbike season, there were many people who believed that the three-time world champion had made the decision in haste. Although Bayliss was 39, he had just won his third World Superbike title, and was looking as strong as ever. But, he told reporters, it was time to settle down in Australia, and he had promised his wife Kim that his racing days were over.
Or maybe not. Retirement, it seems, is not sitting well with Bayliss, and the Australian legend could well be about to return. A reader emailed rumors of a possible return a couple of weeks ago, but we dismissed those rumors out of hand. How wrong we were, for in interviews with both Superbikeplanet.com and GPOne.com, Bayliss has spoken freely about a return to racing.
Originally, Bayliss had intended to scratch his competitive itch in the Australian V8 Supercars series, but his inability to get a ride in a competitive car has stymied that plan. That left Bayliss with a lot of frustration, as witnessed by his response to Dean Adams whether he had come to terms with retirement: "Not one little bit, not at all." Bayliss also told Superbikeplanet that he felt he had retired too early, still one championship short of British WSBK legend Carl Fogarty, and seven race wins behind the Brit. Despite the strength of the current World Superbike field, those seven wins should at least be within Bayliss' reach, should he decide to return.
If Bayliss does come back, then there is only realistically one team he would end up at. Bayliss is still a Ducati employee - as well as a test rider, due to test the 1198R at Mugello in the next couple of days - and was clear that he felt that Ducati is where he ought to make a return. However, with Bayliss' good friend and mentor Davide Tardozzi having gone to BMW, and the Xerox Ducati team in disarray, there is even a chance that Bayliss could end up wearing a different color altogether.