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Rumors of Australian Superbike champion Troy Bayliss squashed again

by Press Release [March 21, 2012]

Rumors of Australian Superbike champion Troy Bayliss squashed againYet another Troy Bayliss comeback rumor. But this one was different, because it apparently came damn close to becoming reality before being dashed.

Three-time World Superbike champion and Ducati legend Bayliss was ready to compete as a wild card in selected WSBK events this season, starting April 1 at Imola, on a fourth bike fielded by Effenbert Liberty Racing.

But the deal fell through, and Effenbert Liberty instead will put reigning Canadian Superbike champion Brett McCormick on a fourth 1198 for the entire season alongside Sylvain Guintoli, Jakub Smrz and Maxime Berger.

Bayliss, 42, retired after winning his third World Superbike title in 2008. But he always has given the vibe that he knows he quit too soon, seemingly agitated and chafing to race when he has returned to the track in retirement. Bayliss' sporadic testing sessions for Ducati also have spurred rumors of a return.

The comeback apparently was on track last month. Then Ducati apparently ended the plans, Bayliss suggested, citing "politics." But Ducati Corse WSBK Project Leader Ernesto Marinelli countered by saying an 1198 wild-card machine awaited Bayliss at Imola if he wanted it.

Much like the situation last month, there's plenty of fog surrounding the reasons the Liberty Effenbert deal fell through for Bayliss. He was conspicuously silent about the issue Tuesday and Wednesday on his Twitter feed, where he vented his frustrations last month about the initial collapse of the comeback.

Effenbert Liberty owner Mario Bertuccio also shed no light.

"The Effenbert company believes in motorsport and its use as the most powerful promotional engine so much that it was in their contemplation to run a Liberty Racing bike with legendary Troy Bayliss on a couple of occasions this season," Bertuccio said. "They had a strong desire to give him the opportunity to ride as a wild-card in a few races.

"Unfortunately, as we all know, this intention was not fulfilled successfully for various reasons. At this point, the possibility has vanished completely, and Effenbert decided to reconsider other options of further investments in the team, with regard to the budget, which eventually resulted in the decision to engage a fourth permanent rider for the entire 2012 season. This decision is also promising something very interesting."

Safe to say that "something" is not nearly as interesting as seeing the Baylisstic One back on a Ducati at speed, slicing and dicing with Checa, Biaggi and Co. at Imola. It's not happening at the moment, but it may be very soon. For now, Australians still have Casey Stoner in MotoGP charging the way, looking just as fast as he did in 2011.