Aussie road racing legend and three-time world Superbike champion Troy Bayliss will take his KTM into arguably its toughest environment yet, at this weekend’s Marc Marquez Superprestigio at Palau Sant Jordi Arena in Barcelona.
Held for the first time last year, the event has returned to include a broader range of two-wheeled talent from a host of disciplines, and from all over the world, among them the reigning Australian dirt track and supermotard champion from Taree.
Bayliss will ride his beloved 2012 SMR 450 in the Superprestigio class at the former Olympic Stadium, on an indoor oval track approximately 250 meters in length.Though he retired from world championship road racing in 2008, Bayliss is passionate about his dirt track roots at both an event promotion and a participation level – and as his domination of both the Aussie dirt track and supermotard championships suggests, he’s in a scalpel-sharp nick.
In Spain he’ll bang bars with the likes of event host Marc Marquez and fellow Moto GP racer Bradley Smith, as well as a heap of Moto 2 and Moto 3 competitors including the only other Aussie in the event, Remy Gardner, son of 1987 World 500cc champ Wayne.
The event’s Open class will also feature a litany of talent including world championship level riders from Enduro, Long track, Extreme Enduro, Isle of Man, Dirt Track and Supermotard including KTM heroes Ivan Cervantes and Taddy Blazusiak.
Aussie fans will be able to catch the event on Fox Sports live Sunday morning on channel 506 and then in replay in the afternoon at three o’clock, again on 506.
Troy Bayliss “Many of the top Moto GP riders are really getting into dirt track for their training, so it’s helping lift the profile of the sport, and that’s why I want to do this race. We do our event in Australia, but it just makes sense to go over there and give it a go with them guys. it’s going to be pretty cool, I haven’t done a lot of the short track stuff, but KTM Australia and KTM in Spain have helped organise getting my bike over there, so at least I’m in a pretty good way straight off the bat. I’ll be riding something that I know.
“Jeff and KTM have been helping me out for a couple of years now with bikes for the flat track, and this year we managed to win the 250, the 450 and the Unlimited titles in the Australian dirt track championships, then the following weekend we won the 250 and 450 supermotard championship as well. But my main bike is one I bought a few years ago, because I like the KTMs, and its 2012 SMR450. Even though I say 2012, it’s far from old -it’s got more good bits on it than you can imagine! It’s a good thing.
“I don’t know Mark very well, but I’ll get a ride on Thursday and Friday and it will be good to hang out with guys like Jared Mees, Brad Baker and Guy Martin. There are stacks of guys there it will just be nice to catch up with. Also my old bosses from Ducati are coming over to have a look – David Tardozzi and Paolo Ciabatti, as well as Byron my old suspension guy from Ohlins. Heaps of guys I used to work with are actually coming to give me a hand, so it’ll be pretty cool.”
America are sending Two Grand National Champions and one fast up-and-coming female sensation to represent AMA Pro Flat Track in the Superprestigio. Jared Mees, Brad Baker and Shayna Texter will grind it out against more than 40 international superstars, including two-time, defending MotoGP champion Marc Marquez.
Baker carried America’s flag proud as he represented AMA Pro Flat Track in the Superprestigio event held in January of this year. Baker was coming off an amazing championship run in 2013 to secure the AMA Pro Flat Track National No. 1 plate. The Washington native didn’t disappoint either, as he was able to get the best of Spain’s hero, Marquez, to claim the Superprestigio victory in front of a packed house.
“It’s an honor,” Baker said. “It’s really cool just to be able to be recognized on that level, that playing field with riders such as Marc [Marquez] and the other GP riders at the event.”
Unlike Baker, Michigan’s Mees has never stepped foot on European soil. The reigning Grand National Champion reclaimed the title this season after earning nine podiums and two victories, and will surely be a threat to take the checkered flag when the lights go green this Saturday.
“I’m extremely excited for this race to happen,” said Mees. “I’ve never flown overseas before and I feel very fortunate for this opportunity and to get invited to such a prestigious event. I’m confident that Brad, Shayna and I will do a good job representing America and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun competing against Marc Marquez and the other Spanish riders.”
Shayna Texter is the third and final AMA Pro Flat Track rider competing in the Superprestigio. The 23-year-old Pennsylvanian is the first female rider to win an AMA Pro Flat Track main event, which she first did in 2011 when she took the GNC2 checkered flag at Knoxville.
“I’m thrilled to be able to represent America and compete against my fellow competitors here in the states as well as Marc Marquez and the rest of the competition on such a big stage,” said Texter. “I feel most comfortable on a 450cc motorcycle and fortunately that’s what I’ll be racing on this weekend. This is going to be a great event.”
Commentary for the broadcast will be handled by English MotoGP announcer Gregory Haines and AMA Pro Flat Track legend Chris Carr. The expertise Carr brings to the booth includes seven Grand National Championships and 78 victories, second all-time in GNC competition.
“While it was great to watch the Superprestigio dirt track earlier this year, I am really excited to be a part of the team calling the action in person,” Carr said. “I look forward to seeing our last two Grand National Champions, Jared Mees and Brad Baker, take on the various world and national champions from Europe and beyond. Let the ‘Battle of Barcelona,’ commence!”
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