WSBK: Bayliss is back at Phillip Island as WSBK celebrates 25th anniversary
Friday 19 February – The 2015 eni FIM World Superbike Championship officially began with a series of events that also celebrated 25 years of World SBK competition at the iconic Phillip Island GP Circuit.
Kicking things off was a Welcome Press Conference during which Fergus Cameron, Phillip Island GP Circuit Managing Director received an FIM 25th WSBK Anniversary plate. The plate was presented to the circuit by FIM Jury President, Rudiger Merdes.
Following this was the Official Opening Round Rider Press Conference that included reigning World Champion Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) and Chaz Davies (Aruba Ducati SBK), who each answered a series of questions about the opening round and the season ahead.
The latter part of the morning saw a unique “25 years of WorldSBK at Phillip Island” photo opportunity at the Southern Loop (turn 2) during which a helicopter swooped low over the assembled riders and team personnel providing some spectacular images.
Sylvain Guintoli, Alex Lowes, Jonathan Rea, Tom Sykes, Leon Haslam, Niccolò Canepa and Leon Camier were then joined by Australian wildcards Jed Metcher, and Aiden Wagner for a visit to Cowes Primary School. The delighted local children surprised the riders with interesting questions about motorcycle safety and providing them with Vegemite filled sandwiches, before posing for photos and showing them their very own small off-road bikes that were brought into the school for the occasion.
45 year old Australian legend Troy Bayliss will make a comeback after a seven year retirement on the Aruba Ducati, to stand in for injured rider Davide Giugliano, who injured his back when he crashed in testing on Monday, the last time Bayliss raced at Phillip Island was in 2008.
Troy Bayliss (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team #21)
“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. 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.”
The long awaited on track action will begin tomorrow with the Free Practice sessions for both World Superbike and World Supersport categories.