By taking a third place finish in Race 1 and a fantastic race 2 win today at the “Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours”, Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) has this weekend been crowned with a remarkable third World Superbike title, powering his Ducati 1098 F08 to victory and snatching the title after round thirteen, despite there being one more round still to race at Portimao (Portugal).
With a total of 410 championship points, and having achieved nine race wins and sixteen podium finishes during the season, the Australian legend Bayliss has ridden the Ducati 1098 F08 factory machine into the record books, a winning bike in its debut season, a feat previously accomplished by Carl Fogarty with the 916 in 1994, and with the 996 in 1998 and by Neil Hodgson in 2003 with the 999.
Todays’ results also mean that Ducati has secured the manufacturer’s title, for the fifteenth time since the championship began in 1988. This means that in the last eighteen years, the Borgo-Panigale based firm has dominated the World Superbike series, to take the constructor’s title home on all but three occasions.
Today Troy started from third position on the grid and knew that to finish Race 1 with an advantage of at least 75 points over Corser, Haga and Neukirchner would be enough to take the title. He therefore rode an intelligent race, leaving Haga to lead while he concentrated on doing just enough to secure the necessary result. He remained in second place for the first nineteen laps before relinquishing that position to Nieto and eventually settling for third place on the podium. Meanwhile team-mate Michel Fabrizio rode a great race, moving up from ninth to third place, only to unfortunately crash out, unhurt, on the nineteenth lap.
In Race 2 Troy was able to ride with less pressure and thus raced for the win. Caught up in a great battle with an old adversary, Haga, Troy proved himself to be the most determined, crossing the line ahead of the Yamaha rider. Unfortunately Fabrizio suffered from technical problems that prevented him from fighting up front, eventually concluding the race in fourteenth place.
39-year old Troy first celebrated a world title with Ducati in 2001, a season in which he dominated the racing on board the 996R, to finish with a 36-point advantage over second-placed rider Colin Edwards. In 2006, racing for the Ducati Xerox Team on board the Ducati 999, Troy’s twelve race wins and total of sixteen podium finishes secured him his second world title, a testimony to the incredible competitiveness of the Australian who won the championship by a clear margin of 95 points, ahead of James Toseland.
Bayliss will retire from Superbike racing at the end of the 2008 season, having accumulated over the years an awe-inspiring collection of 50 race wins, 92 podium finishes and 25 pole positions.
Troy Bayliss (2008 World Superbike Champion – Ducati Xerox Team – Ducati 1098 F08)
“I’m extremely happy to have won my third world championship and to be able to say I have won on three different generations of the Ducati Superbike. I want to thank the entire team who have worked so hard and put a lot of trust in me. Together we have done a great job this season. These last years with Ducati, since 2000, have been a great experience for me. This whole year has been up and done, with several riders remaining consistently fast. From half way through the season we became more confident and so there was a lot of pressure but I’ve done what I set out to do, I really wanted to win on the three different Ducati Superbikes. It’s just a fantastic feeling. Now I have secured the title, I’m looking forward to enjoying the last round at the brand new track of Portimao, where I’m hoping I can finish the season on a high!”
Michel Fabrizio (8th in classification, 203 points)
“I am of course very disappointed with the way things went today as I hoped to do so much better. Unfortunately technical problems prevented me from finishing the races in the way I would have liked. I am obviously extremely happy for Troy, he has been a fantastic team-mate this season and he truly deserved the title. I am proud to have been his team-mate in Ducati.”
Gabriele Del Torchio (CEO – Ducati Motor Holding)
“I am particularly happy and proud of this victory. Exactly one year ago the MotoGP win added a very important chapter to our history but this win demonstrates, for the fifteenth time, Ducati’s supremacy in competitions for production bikes such as SBK. A triumph that confirms the success of the product that is the 1098, a winner in it’s debut year, and a point of reference not just on track but also from the commercial and design points of view.
Troy is an icon of our brand, a true Ducatista, who demonstrates characteristics such as determination, intelligence, pride and competitiveness, bringing added value to our company and to our bikes. A rider that “never gives up”, he is the public’s favourite, it is impossible not to like him. He truly deserved to conclude his career triumphantly, with yet another win to add to the list, consolidating his position among the greats of motorcycling. Ducati owes a lot to Troy and he has always known how to repay the company, writing unforgettable pages of motorcycling history for us. Thanks again Troy, and a particular thanks also to the team, to Ducati Corse and all the Ducati employees who has each played their role to perfection to secure this fantastic result.”
Filippo Preziosi (General Director – Ducati Corse)
“Today Troy has given Ducati Corse an unforgettable gift, having now won the World Superbike Championship on three different bikes – the 998, 999 and 1098. On behalf of everybody in Ducati Corse I send a warm embrace to a rider that will remain forever in our hearts. My compliments also go to Davide (Tardozzi), to Ernesto (Marinelli) and to the whole team for the great job they’ve done.”