Troy Bayliss took to the track for the first official tests of the 2018 Australian SBK Championship season – after 10 years of racing retirement, and a 21 year absence from the series.
The 48-year-old WorldSBK legend and multiple champion last contested the series way back in 1997, before he made a move into British Superbikes and never looked back, claiming in the 1999 title before going on to rack up three WorldSBK crowns. Bayliss had planned to ride when Callum Spriggs was injured last year, but didn’t feel the timing was quite right. But it is now.
Bayliss said: “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. I definitely feel like I have some unfinished business. I have a bit of work to do in terms of fitness, but after testing the bike and running it at the Adelaide Motorsport Festival, I feel I am definitely up to the task.”
At Phillip Island, Bayliss finished Day One in tenth place (out of 32 riders), managing a best of 1’34 “917 aboard his Desmosport Ducati, Ducati 1299 Panigale Final Edition. While Wayne Maxwell, riding the Yamaha R1M, stood at the top of the pile at the end of the first day, clocking a 1’33 “396.
Test ASBK 2018, Phillip Island – Top Ten Day One
- Wayne MAXWELL (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1M) 1’33 “252
- Josh WATERS (Team Suzuki ECSTAR Australia, Suzuki GSXR-1000R) 1’33 “300
- Glenn ALLERTON (NextGen Motorsports, BMW S1000RR) 1’33 “658
- Michael BLAIR (Michael Blair Racing, Yamaha YZF-R1) 1’33 “833
- Daniel FALZON (Yamaha Racing Team, Yamaha YZF-R1M) 1’33 “864
- Mike JONES (Kawasaki ZX-10R) 1’33 “877
- Troy HERFOSS (Penrite Honda Racing, Honda CBR1000SP) 1’33 “923
- Bryan STARING (BCperformance, Kawasaki ZX-10R) 1’34 “021
- Matthew WALTERS (Swann Insurance, Kawasaki ZX-10R) 1’34 “631
- Troy BAYLISS (Desmosport Ducati, Ducati 1299 Panigale Final Edition) 1’34 “917
Not a bad start from Bayliss, and we’re sure he’ll be looking to hone his machine, and sharpen up his riding over the next few weeks as the start of the Australian Superbike Championship at Phillip Island fast approaches.
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