Troy Bayliss will make a surprise return to World Superbikes this weekend as a substitute for the injured Davide Giugliano at Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team. The three-time champion hasn’t raced in the series since taking the championship in 2008, but with Phillip Island celebrating its 25th anniversary as a World Superbike venue, the Ducati ambassador is delighted to have convinced the team to enter him as a wildcard.
“I want to start by saying that I really feel for Davide and that it’s a real shame for his season to be starting in this way. The desire to be able to return to the track and see the home crowd and the Ducatisti has always been strong, ever since I last raced and then also Phillip Island, one of my favourite tracks, is celebrating its 25th anniversary of World Superbikes. This gave me the idea to compete as a wildcard and work with the Ducati Superbike technicians once again.”
The 45-year-old is a six-time race winner at his home event and although he has a package capable of challenging at the front this weekend, Bayliss is keeping a lid on expectations.
“I know it’s going to be a very difficult weekend, also because it’s a while since I’ve ridden the Superbike but I do know the track well and so hope to get back into it after a few laps. I’ll try to enjoy myself and will of course be doing my best to score a good result and put on a good show for the public.”
Bayliss was drafted in following the news that Giugliano would be ruled out following a heavy crash in testing on Monday. The Italian sustained two micro-fractures of the L1 and L2 vertebrae and has been advised to rest for 90 days, ruling him out of the first four rounds of 2015.
“My aim now is to do all I can to recover as quickly as possible”, commented a dejected Giugliano. “I will return to Italy as soon as possible to start my rehabilitation. I’m proud to know that it will be Troy to substitute for me this weekend. He’s a great champion and I’ve always admired him. I hope he gets on well with the set-up that my team and I have worked on in recent months.”