Triple World Superbike champion and MotoGP race winner Troy Bayliss is to come out of retirement and compete in the 2018 Australian Superbike Championship.
Bayliss will be racing for his own DesmoSport Ducati team and, at the age of 48, intends to finally add the ASBK title to his list of illustrious racing achievements.
The Australian told CycleOnline.com.au: “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.
Speaking to Greg Rust, Bayliss revealed he had set “a good lap time” during the recent test, adding: “I’m coming back, I’m going to be very serious and that’s that.”
Bayliss, who will race the 1299 Panigale R, finished third in the ASBK series in 1996 (Kawasaki) and runner-up in 1997 (Suzuki), before switching to BSB and starting his long relationship with Ducati the following season.
After winning the 1999 British Superbike title, Bayliss was placed by Ducati in the AMA series for 2000. However he was soon called-up by the factory’s WorldSBK team in place of the injured Carl Fogarty.
A full-time MotoGP rider from 2003-2005, with Ducati and then Honda Pons, victory came during a one-off Desmosedici return in place of the injured Sete Gibernau at the final round of 2006.
World champion in 2001 and 2006, Bayliss retired from WorldSBK with a third crown in 2008. He then made a brief return as a stand-in for the official Ducati team in the 2015 Australian and Thailand rounds, with a best race finish of ninth.