Mark Bracks caught up with Troy Bayliss, at Phillip Island this week as the three-time World Superbike Champion prepared for his comeback to racing
Troy Bayliss will compete as DesmoSport Ducati’s only rider, and is co-owner of DesmoSport Ducati alongside Ben Henry.
Bayliss will race a Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition.
Prior to heading overseas, Troy Bayliss had twice finished second in the Australian Superbike Championship, he is keen to add an ASBK #1 plate to his tally before hanging up his leathers for good.
Mark Bracks: So you’re looking forward to the upcoming Australian Superbike season, no doubt?
Troy Bayliss: “Yeah I can’t wait, I had a ride at Wakefield Park on the Final Edition Ducati but I only had 30 minutes, and the track was in really bad condition and I had a big crash. So I destroyed one bike and it tumbled me up pretty good. I fractured a hip socket which is no good, I really don’t need a big crash in the next five weeks to tell you the truth.”
MB: No I don’t think you need to crash all year to tell you the truth TB.
TB:” I got a bit of feel, but it had been raining and dried out a bit and Wakefield is a bit of a shit place anyway, with all the silicone and different material they’ve put down. And that was the end of that day.”
MB: How is the team structured, is Paul Free the manager and Ben the crew chief?
TB: “Paul is Crew Chief, and Benny is Team Manager.”
MB: Are you going to put anyone else on a bike for the year?
TB: “We can’t afford that, we can only run one bike, we don’t have the budget for any more.”
MB: What are your expectations, I know you’ll go out and give it 110 per cent, but will you have a target on your back, will it be, ‘Here’s the old boy we’ll give a bit of a dust up to?’
TB: “Yeah I don’t know if it will be like that really. I’d like to do well, but the most important thing is to be competitive and at least run at the front, I’d be pretty damn happy with that.”
MB: I think you can, it’s not like you haven’t been on a bike for a while…
TB: “It’s nice to be part of the battle at the front, that’s the main thing.”
MB: Are you getting any of the gate takings from MA?
TB: “Any of the gate takings? *laughs*”
MB: Well you’ll be bringing people through the gates, so they should be giving you a backhander for it.
TB: “It would be nice but the thing is I end up on the bike, it’s good for me, and gets me back healthy and fit, and hopefully it’s going to be good. Hopefully I’ll be competitive and it will be good for the Championship. That’s the main idea.”
MB: You got your 21 back, aye?
TB: “It was pretty lucky Josh won the championship and who knows whether he wants to run #1 or not, but he’s running #1 which frees up 21 for me, so I’m very happy about that. Josh didn’t have to hand it over, but seeing as he’s using #1 at least for this year, he can let me use it.”
MB: I couldn’t see Suzuki running without it (#1) this year…
TB: “No, all the manufacturers always want to have that.”
MB: That’s for sure. And you’ll have the entire World Superbike paddock hanging over the railings when you go out there the first time?
TB: “Yeah, it’s funny, Corse are down there as they are running for the first run as well, so it’s going to feel pretty weird for me. But it’ll be exciting.”
MB: I’m looking forward to it, the series is going in the right direction, Doyley is doing an alright job with it, and everyone is having a bit of a dip.
TB: “Honestly to me, I normally always start the season off good, and going to Phillip Island I have plenty of experience there, so to me the first round is the really good indicator of the year ahead. If it’s hard at Phillip Island it means I’ll have a challenging year ahead. It sounds like I’m putting pressure on myself but that’s realistically how I feel.”
2018 ASBK Calendar
Round 1 – WSBK, Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit VIC February 22 – 25
Round 2 – Wakefield Park Raceway, Goulburn NSW March 16 – 18
Round 3 – The Bend Motorsport Park, Tailem Bend, SA April 19 – 22
Round 4 – Hidden Valley Raceway, Darwin NT June 28 – 1 July
Round 5 – Morgan Park Raceway, Warwick QLD August 17 – 19
Round 6 – Winton Motor Raceway, Benalla, VIC September 7 – 9
Round 7 – Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, VIC October 12 – 14
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.