Bayliss impresses on first day back in ASBK

Troy Bayliss pic: Russell Colvin

Troy Bayliss has set the second-fastest time in his first practice session out of retirement at this weekend’s Yamaha Motor Insurance Australian Superbike Championship season-opener at Phillip Island.

Josh Waters pic: Andrew Gosling – tbg sport

Bayliss ended up in arrears of only defending champion Josh Waters and cut more than 0.5s off his personal best in testing at the Island in late-January.

The 48-year-old’s 1:33.410s was faster than a number of former ASBK champions could manage, including Troy Herfoss, Wayne Maxwell, Glenn Allerton, Mike Jones, and Bryan Staring.

“It was a good first session and we’ve made changes to the Panigale to make it handle a lot better,” said Bayliss.

“I’m looking forward to more sessions tomorrow. If I can find more time in the areas where I’m struggling, I think we can up the pace even further.”

Bayliss spent nine years out of the seat after retiring from the Superbike World Championship at the end of 2008, save for a two-round spell as an injury replacement for Davide Giugliano in 2015.

The Taree-born DesmoSport Ducati rider was one of a mammoth 49-bike field which took to the circuit for today’s 30-minute session.

There will be a 15-minute practice session tomorrow before 20 minutes of qualifying to set the starting grid for Saturday’s first race of the season.

WorldSBK will also be on-track for three practice sessions for its first round of 2018.

Interview: Troy Bayliss after Practice 1

Results: Practice 1 (Top 10)

Pos Num Rider Team Bike Fastest lap Split to lead Top speed
1 1 Josh WATERS Team Suzuki Ecstar Australia Suzuki GSX-R 1:32.798 294
2 21 Troy BAYLISS Desmosport Ducati Ducati Panigale FE 1:33.410 +0.612 287
3 25 Daniel FALZON Yamaha Racing Team Yamaha YZF-R1 1:33.657 +0.859 288
4 17 Troy HERFOSS Penrite Honda Honda CBR RR SP 1:33.662 +0.864 285
5 47 Wayne MAXWELL Yamaha Racing Team Yamaha YZF-R1 1:33.665 +0.867 290
6 14 Glenn ALLERTON NextGen Motorsports BMW S RR 1:33.876 +1.078 290
7 57 Michael JONES Allsite Concrete Cutting / XXX Rated Race Susp. Kawasaki ZX10R 1:34.005 +1.207 292
8 178 Michael BLAIR Yamaha / Gosford Classic Car Museum Yamaha YZF-R1 1:34.177 +1.379 288
9 67 Bryan STARING Kawasaki / BC Performance Kawasaki ZX10R 1:34.344 +1.546 296
10 12 Matt WALTERS Swann Insurance Superbike Kawasaki ZX10 1:34.471 +1.673 296

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