It has been the source of much conjecture that Troy Bayliss was preparing to ride in the 2018 ASBK Championship and those rumours were today confirmed.
Bayliss, co-owner of DesmoSport Ducati with Ben Henry, will ride under the DesmoSport Ducati banner in season 2018 onboard a Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition
During his time in Australia before going overseas Bayliss placed second in the Australian Superbike Championship on two occasions, and acknowledged he has some unfinished business.
“It was a situation we first considered when Callum Spriggs was injured,” Bayliss explained. “Obviously, it was a big call and it didn’t quite feel right at the time. Since then, I have tested the bike and completed a lot of miles both in practice and racing the 300 class. Initially, I did want to see another young guy on the bike but after I rode it, I felt that I needed to contest the championship and try and win myself the elusive Australian Superbike title.”
It had been reported elsewhere that Bayliss would race under a new Paul Free managed team, however, that is not the case. DesmoSport Ducati along with Ben Henry will still be the organisation behind Bayliss’ 2018 ASBK assault.
Free recently wound up operations at his long-running Motologic facility in Campbellfield, had already sold the family home in Victoria, and were already in the process of moving to Queensland before the 46-year-old took a call last week from Bayliss, asking him to oversee his race machines for the 2018 ASBK season. Free’s involvement at this stage is not 100 per cent confirmed, as things are still taking shape in regards to Bayliss’ plan for 2018, and the team structure within DesmoSport Ducati.
49-year-old Bayliss has still been getting plenty of seat time while training on smaller capacity machines with son Oli, who has been a top competitor in the burgeoning Supersport 300 Championship within ASBK.
Bayliss has also regularly thrown a leg over the DesmoSport Ducati two-seater over the past couple of ASBK seasons, but of late has also been getting some regular riding in on the race bike.
While Bayliss remains unassuming and is largely seen as a knockabout regular dad in the paddock supporting his son, his superstar pulling power has not diminished one iota. That Bayliss will race ASBK in 2018 is an asbolute boon for the championship.
The 2018 ASBK season will kick off at Phillip Island for the Official ASBK Pre-Season Test before the championship starts in earnest at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. The pre-season ASBK Test is set down to take place at P.I. on January 30-31.
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
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