Troy Bayliss, the three-time World Superbike (WSBK) Champion, will return from retirement at age 48 to contest the 2018 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli (ASBK). He will be riding a Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition and run for the DesmoSport squad, which he co-owns with Ben Henry.
“It was a situation we first considered when Callum was injured,” Bayliss explained after this year's DesmoSport Ducati team regular Callum Spriggs suffered an injury during the middle stages of the season, forcing his ruling out. “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.”
This will be Bayliss' first competitive outing since the World Superbikes at the start of the 2015 season, where he had a two-round cameo. But this also marks his first full-season of racing in a decade.
Bayliss says that he was close to joining the series midway last year but then decided to wait for this one to don the leathers.
“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,” said Bayliss. “I definitely feel like I have some unfinished business."
This return also represents to Bayliss an opportunity to finally win an Aussie Superbike crown, after finishing runner-up twice in his career before moving on to Europe.
The 2018 ASBK series kicked off at Phillip Island on February this year.