Like so many great riders of the past, the true champions always seem to attract the largest amount of speculation. This is certainly the case for multiple WSBK champion, Troy Bayliss. Bayliss ended his career honourably, retiring to be with his family on the north coast and to flit backwards and forwards to Europe to fulfil various media engagements.
Then there was the unguarded comment that he made to the effect that he probably “retired too early”. This sent the press, especially the Italian press into a frenzy of speculation. Would he, wouldn’t he? Bayliss was forced into hosing down the rumours admitting that he had probably had spoken incautiously. The tifosi retired back to their cafes, sipping their lattes and muttering imprecations in the direction of Taree.
Now, it seems, that Bayliss is doing much more than just fulfil media commitments in Europe. The boys at motoblog.it recently interviewed him and this is what TB had to say.
“MB: Troy, now that you’re not in the World championship what projects are you working on and how do you spend your days?
TB: “What? Who’s not in the championship (laughs). Seriously, now I have more time for my family, but my life has not changed that much. In recent years I have always test rided the Ducati Superbike before and during the season, I’ve been to all the Ducati events and still have a relationship with my sponsors.”
MB: So you’re also helping with the new 2012 Superbike?
TB: “Yes, of course, it’s my job to follow the testing phases of the new model. I can’t reveal anything, but we are working hard to create a competitive bike that can win the championship again. I’ll be a simple test rider and won’t have any management roles. Riding a bike is what I do best, so this way I’m helping with the new team structure.
MB: Only tests and no races? Is there chance of seeing # 21 on the grid again?
TB: “You don’t know how much I’d like it! I think about returning to racing every day, it’s my greatest passion and the years that I raced were certainly fantastic It’s a recurring thought, but I have my other commitments now and carry on with what I’m doing.”
MB: The 2011 championship, who do you see as champion?
“It ’s too early to tell, but from the first race we noticed how determined Carlos Checa is. The team behind him is official and they have a good chance challenging for the title. Of course, Max Biaggi, who will try to defend his title with his teeth, but I was surprised by the Yamaha bikes who are really competitive this year and it’s a great team with two great talents, Laverty and Melandri will certainly be front runners.
MB: Before saying goodbye I’d like to mention a date. What does Monza 2000 remind you of?
TB: (Smiling) “That fantastic pass!”
MB: “But how did manage to pass four of them that way?
TB: “Don’t ask, I’m still trying to figure it out! I don’t know what was going through my head at the time, but it was the beginning of everything. In the garage after the race the Ducati manager took me aside and told me “you’re never going anywhere else .”
For those of you who’ve never seen “the pass” check it out.
I don’t know about you, but, somehow the commentary sounds much more xciting in Italian than it would have sounded in English.