Motorcycling: Love of the simple life pays dividends in Bayliss's return to superbikes
Saturday 27 May 2006
For a man who lives in a three-bedroom apartment on the beach at Monte Carlo, Troy Bayliss was carrying a surprising burden of worry as he prepared to lead Xerox Ducati's charge in the 2006 World Superbike Championship.
He felt uncertain about whether he could still triumph on a superbike after three winless years in MotoGP. He had doubts about whether a 999cc Ducati could still be competitive when the engines of rival Japanese bikes had grown from 750cc to a litre during his time away. He also pondered how he would cope with world superbike racing's control-tyre environment, where everyone runs on identical Pirelli rubber.
But Bayliss, a 37-year-old Australian, is dominating the superbike circus, and aims to build on a run of five consecutive wins when he competes at Silverstone tomorrow.
"As soon as I got back on the bike I felt confident," Bayliss said this week. "It's like I can breathe again: I feel like I've rejoined the family." That adopted family is the Ducati racing organisation, who believe that they can beat Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki in superbike and MotoGP competitions.
Amazingly, they consistently do. Bayliss's fire-red F06 Ducati has only two cylinders to the four of its Japanese rivals, but it thumps out an impressive 194-horsepower - sufficient to propel Bayliss to 198mph.
"The bike's aerodynamics are really good, so on a fast track such as Monza our top speed is as good as the other bikes," Bayliss said. "But on stop-and-start circuits I lose four to five lengths on the four-cylinder bikes on acceleration through the first four gears."
Yet the combination of Bayliss's talent and Ducati's racing heritage has produced an all-round package that the reigning superbike champion, Alstare Suzuki's Troy Corser, is finding hard to match.
Motorcycling has been good to Bayliss. Yet this is a man who appears to value his quality of life above material rewards. He shares his Monaco home with his wife Kim and their three children and hasn't succumbed to the typical sports stars' temptations.
"I don't have anything, really," he laughed. "I'm just concentrating on the job at hand. I don't know how long I can keep on riding bikes, but at the moment I'm as hungry as ever."
Latest in Sport
Laura Trott and Jason Kenny announce engagement
Jose Mourinho says Chelsea deserve to be setting pace going into Christmas fixtures
Manchester United vs Newcastle United preview: Alan Pardew targets rare Old Trafford win to halt Newcastle slump
Sir Alex Ferguson on Jose Mourinho: 'He's good looking, speaks five languages, wins everything - it's unfair'
Arsenal vs QPR: Leroy Fer seeks perfect present for Boxing Day
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 2 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
- 5 The Queen’s speech 2014: Recap and Twitter reaction to Game of Thrones reference
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...
£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...