Oli Bayliss to race World Supersport at P.I.
16-year-old Oli Bayliss, son of three-time World Superbike Champion Troy, will make his debut in the World Supersport Championship at the Phillip Island 2020 season opener after being granted a wildcard entry to the event.
“2019 was a fun year, racing hard and improving, but now I need to step it up again if I want to finish better than 5th in the championship, and racing world supersport against the fastest 600 riders in the world is a great way to kick off the year. I’m lucky to be in the position I’m in with this wild card opportunity, having Dad to motivate me, Ben to build great bikes and to have seen how it all works with Tom (Toparis) racing a wildcard as my team-mate in 2018. So I don’t really feel any pressure. I know I’m fit enough to ride the extra laps that comes with racing both championships, and I just need to go out there, race the track and see how many points I can get!”
Ben Henry’s Cube Racing will prepare the Yamaha YZF-R6 in-house at their Gold Coast based performance shop.
The norm’ for most wildcard entries is to lease a ‘factory’ engine but Henry will build a World Supersport spec’ engine for Bayliss himself.
Team owner – Ben Henry
“We’ve worked really hard back in the shop to build Oli a bike for world supersport, while also preparing for the ASBK season. In Australia, we can’t race with the same level of sensors and data gathering equipment as they can in the world championship, so we do a lot of set-up based on rider feedback, our own feeling from touching the bike as well as watching the way the rider and bike work together on-track, and I’m confident that we have a competitive package for Oli to get his first experience in the world championship. We’ve been in this position before with Tom Toparis, and while we don’t expect to win the race, it’s an incredibly valuable experience for a young rider, and we’re confident with our ability as a team, and with Oli as a rider to get the most out of the opportunity”.
The major differences are to be found in the cylinder head and a higher specification slipper clutch than the standard unit allowed under ASBK Supersport rules.
There will be some other technical changes on the bike like the allowance for data logging equipment and of course the mandatory red ‘rain’ light must be fitted to the back of the machine for the World Supersport event.
“I’m pretty excited that in just his fourth year racing a road bike, that Oli will get to race in a round of the world championship. It’s another step in his steep learning curve, but he’s really enjoying racing bikes. His first year on a 600 in 2019 taught him a lot, not just about racing a bike, but communicating with the team, also learning what changes in settings have on the bike on-track. He’s really improved a lot and I think the biggest challenge for the weekend will be for Kim and I as we have to watch him on track twice as much! Right now he really wants to do it, he’s enjoying his racing and it’s a difficult one for me as when I ride with him on the track we have the best time ever, but when he’s on the track I feel like a really normal dad, as I get really nervous and I find it really difficult to actually watch him race. It will be his first international race and he’s pretty nervous and excited; it will be an experience and if he can grab a couple of points that will be even better. He has so much more experience than I had at the same age, as I didn’t start road racing until I was 22, he’s just turned 16 and basically he can nearly beat me on the track at the moment.”
Cube Racing will join the official two-day World Superbike/Supersport test on February 24-25 ahead of the March 1 race weekend.