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 Aruba.it 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.” 

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Comments

I hope he is reasonably competitive, but just to see him on a top shelf superbike again will be priceless.

I went to the Bayliss Moto Expo in Brisbane last year, which finished off with a series of flat track races - with Chris Vermeulen, Garry McCoy, Karl Muggeridge, Jason Crump and others - and he was in fine form there!

Total votes: 128

And loves it. Is there a chance he then goes on to take part in the rest of the championship, to try and take that 4th world title and become the greatest ever World Superbike rider?

Total votes: 112

Giugliano is out for a few races - 4 or 5 IIRC.

Pirro is going to be on the bike for the ones after PI.

But Ducati being Ducati... would likely try to keep Bayliss if he did show a clean pair of heels to the regulars, and yep a 4th title would indeed eclipse Fogarty's equal count, simply by virtue of how Bayliss did it.

We can dream : )

Ducati would also need to get Kim's approval and that's probably the hardest hurdle! ha

Total votes: 110

That was the strangest race ever. His first and his last race win in MotoGP!?!? I don't expect nothing worst this time either.

Total votes: 122

YES. This. His only wildcard entry in MotoGP in 2006. He won at Valencia, at 37 years old, on a Ducati, against the likes of Hayden, Rossi, Melandri, Stoner, Capirossi, and others. Very impressive in my book. I don't know what he can do at 45, but you better believe I'll be watching.

Total votes: 133

Anyone remember how Bayliss got his start in WSBK? A much better rider (King Carl) was injured at Phillip Island and Troy was called up from USA AMA SBK. This is a great piece of news...Troy/Haga, Hockenheim...Troy/Edwards, Imola for the championship...Valencia one off motogp ride and win...he's responsible so many great racing memories.

Total votes: 126

Does this news raise the level of exitment for the weekend? At 45 years of age, and not having raced for quiet a few years it could be expected that he wont be at the sharp end. But there is something about Bayliss that makes me think he will do something magical. Again.

Total votes: 114

He never stopped racing, he just stopped Superbike racing. He races flat track and supermoto all the time though.

I very much doubt that he's forgotten how to hustle a Superbike, and don't forget he was a development rider for the Panigale, so he knows the bike pretty well. The team will be excited to have him there too, so they'll be pulling out all the stops I'm sure.

Total votes: 107

I might just go and sign up for a WSBK videopass... I fear that Troy will find current riders are much faster than he can muster. Luck to get top 5 I'd bet.

Total votes: 116

If Edwards could get Yamaha to give him a bike, that would be an epic reunion. I know that's wishful thinking.

Total votes: 136

How awesome would it be to have the WSBK greats compete again in a 3 or 5 round "championship" on the new version of the bikes they're most closely associated with? Fogarty, Bayliss, and Ben Bostrom all on Ducati's, Colin Edwards, John Kocinski and Aaron Slight (I believe he has a serious brain issue that took him out of racing) all on Hondas, Pier Francesco Chili on either the Duc or Suzuki, Troy Corser on the Suzuki, etc.. I think that would be absolutely awesome

Total votes: 111

All sorted, and he's gone back to racing cars and bikes. Last I heard he was racing the newest incarnation of the VFR800 on a hillclimb event for Honda New Zealand, still a V4 man : )

Total votes: 98

His return will bring emotional tears to many SBK fans...true legend with lots of great racing memories...his comment prove his passion in motorcycle racing is still burning but he put responsibility to family above all, a truly gentleman...it'll be interesting to see his fitness and prowess against current SBK stars, no matter how he finish the race the fans will surely give a standing ovation!

Total votes: 116

This is amazing and great news! Of course there's a risk he will be somewhere around 12th spot and thus will hurt the magic a bit, but the fact he has the guts to try this only adds to his legendary status.
I am expecting him to do pretty well though. I am guessing that he'll be able to get close to the top 5, which would be very impressive. And I am not excluding any miracle performances. I just have to think back to MotoGP Valencia 2006. Long time ago, I know, but Bayliss is not your average 45 year old ex-racer.

Total votes: 132

Kevin Schwantz did Suzuka a year or so ago. He didn't win and it did not hurt his legacy. I think it's get these legends show the next generation to give back to the sport that gave them the opportunity for a successful life.

Not everything is about a big payday. Thank you Troy Bayliss!

Total votes: 137

Y
E
S
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Hoe-lee sh*t what a gift for EVERYONE. This is so wonderful! A mid pack result would still be an amazing feat given the circumstances. And I see him and the Ducati doing better than that.

He is a COMPETITOR that will be eyeing the front. Watch out mister Davies, this guy is special on a Superbike around PI.

Go go go go (do it for us folks at and past midlife, go show the kids how it is done Troy)

:)

Total votes: 116

Having seen him at Laguna Seca at the turn of the century on track every year battling Edwards, I'm all for it. Even if he is slower I see no issues with letting a champion back on the bike, even if it is just one race. Bring it on!

Total votes: 139

Well - this will put more punters through the turnstiles at the island. Bayliss is one of the most talented men ever in Superbikes. That talent doesn't just go away. And this is the Island right, a balls out speed track made for men such as him. I expect to see him dust up more than his fair share of young pups. GO TROY.

Total votes: 108

I may just do the same. Cheaper than motogp! Time was, wsk was way better to watch than the then parade.

Total votes: 118

His son Oli/Olly? when asked where he hoped he'd finish...

His answer was perfect... "Upright"

Doesn't matter to me where he finishes, just good to see him out there enjoying life. All the best Troy,,, Legend!

Total votes: 117

I am late to the news. But this is great news indeed. He has tested the 1198 and 1199. From the reports I read he was faster than Haga and Checa on the 1198, have not read anything about him on the 1199 but I would not count him out of the top 10, (really top 5). If he wins, (hopeful thinking from a HUGE fan),every fan that remembers his glory days will be screaming their heads off.

Really, it is a treat to see him on a Ducati, in his home country, on one of the greatest tracks ever built. Cannot wait to watch.

Total votes: 119