Various riders have won the hearts of the fans and enthusiasts during Ducati’s history, but one in particular is universally known as the “darling” of the modern-day ducatisti: Troy Bayliss.
Troy Bayliss arrived in Superbikes at a late stage, winning the British Superbike championship on a Ducati in 1999, when he was already 30 years old. In 2000 he was beginning a new season in the American AMA series when he was unexpectedly called to Europe to replace Carl Fogarty, seriously injured at the 2000 Australian GP. Bayliss’ first race as a substitute rider for Fogarty was not a lucky one as he was involved in two accidents at the start of the race. The rider did not lose heart however and at the Italian grand prix of Monza he would amaze the crowds with a series of breath-taking passes; that same year Troy would score his first Superbike race win at Hockenheim in Germany.
The “Baylisstic” star was born.
Troy Bayliss, over the course of his rather brief career, won the Superbike rider’s title in 2001, 2006 and 2008, riding three different Ducati bikes, the 998, the 999 and the 1098. In 2003 Bayliss moved to MotoGP, lining up alongside team-mate Loris Capirossi, and at the end of that season Troy was named “rookie of the year”.
2004 did not bring the same luck as the previous year and, after an average 2005 with Honda, he decided to leave MotoGP, returning for the Valencia race of 2006 as a substitute for the injured Sete Gibernau. That race became part of history because Troy, fresh from winning the Superbike title, got back on the Desmosedici and ran rings around his rivals to score his first and only MotoGP race win.