WorldSBK: The Troy Bayliss comeback



Troy Bayliss’ return to the WorldSBK paddock at Phillip Island this weekend may be only temporary, but the excitement amongst fellow riders was evident by the bucketful on Thursday as the pre-event press conference was staged in Australia.


“For me, it’s pretty awesome,” Alex Lowes commented. “He’s definitely one of my all-time heroes. Coming over to BSB when I was a young lad and winning like he did, with his all-action style, has been pretty cool. I am looking forward to it. I don’t think I’ll be looking to it if he’s sliding up the inside of me into Honda hairpin! Hopefully he’ll do a good job and to share the track with him will be pretty cool.”


“I don’t think it will be embarrassing, actually!” laughed reigning World Champion Sylvain Guintoli. “You never know what he’s going to do. He could surprise everybody and be very fast. It’s going to be very hard for him – he’s got a lot of balls to come back and do that! Big respect.”


WorldSBK rookie Jordi Torres suggested the Bayliss appearance will be a perfect example to view different riding styles in the field, whereas Jonathan Rea recalled first racing the Australian when Rea made his WorldSBK debut at Portimao in 2008.


“I was really lucky that, for Troy’s last ever race, the Ten Kate team bumped me up to World Superbike for the last round of the championship,” Rea reminiscences. “We shared the front row together – and now we get to finish the story again here. I think what he is doing is incredible. There are going to be so many more people through the gate because Troy is such a legend in his own right.

“When I first saw the gossip news on my Twitter feed and then the official news, I was so happy for everyone. I do believe in fairy tales but then I thought, ‘Hang on, wait a minute…what if everything goes right and he makes me look pretty amateurish, because I’ve been at this every single year [laughs]?’ I’m just really happy to share the grid with me again.”


As for Chaz Davies, the Welsh rider will share the Racing-Ducati SBK Team garage with Bayliss, who claimed world titles in 2001, 2006 and 2008.

“Like the rest of the guys, we are all excited to share the track with him, but if he’s competitive it’s something else!” Davies began. “You can’t rule it out. He’s going to be competitive, isn’t he? He’s kept himself sharp on the bikes since he retired and, from what I gather, that was a retirement he never wanted to make anyway. Looking at him, he is still as fired up as what he used to seem back in the days.

“It’s going to be great. It’s really good for the fans and for us guys to share the track with him. When I was younger and first started out in BSB, in the Superteen Challenge, Troy was one of the only guys to come up every weekend to ask how we were doing. To actually now get the opportunity to share the track and the garage with him is going to be an honour…until he beats me [laughs]!”


Photos by Leonard Smith, words by WorldSBK PR February 2015

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