The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team prepares for Phillip Island season opener. Three-times world champion Troy Bayliss will race alongside Chaz Davies in place of Davide Giugliano, injured in a crash on Monday
Phillip Island (Australia), Wednesday 18 February 2015 – The Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team and factory rider Chaz Davies are almost set for the opening round of the 2015 Superbike World Championship, taking place this coming weekend at the Australian circuit of Phillip Island. The Italian squad, having not initially planned to substitute the Italian at the Australian round, has decided to accept Troy Bayliss’ request and fulfil his wish to compete at the Australian event, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of World Superbikes at Phillip Island.
Davide Giugliano left the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne yesterday evening. Unfortunately the final prognosis for the Italian rider, who has two micro-fractures of the L1 and L2 vertebrae, is that he won’t be able to return to racing his Panigale R for a period of 90 days. Davide will fly home to Italy as soon as possible, where he will undergo further checks and begin rehabilitation in order to return to full fitness as soon as possible.
Although the Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team did not originally envisage replacing injured Giugliano, the squad is pleased to accept Troy Bayliss’ request to compete at Phillip Island in the year in which the Superbike championship celebrates its 25th anniversary at the Australian track, giving Bayliss the chance to see his many fans who supported him so enthusiastically throughout his career. The 45-year old Australian has not raced in World Superbikes since the end of 2008 when he won the world title, his third such title with Ducati, having also won in 2001 and 2006. The three-times world champion won 52 races during his Superbike career with Ducati – six of which at Phillip Island – and has since been a faithful Ducati brand ambassador as well as remaining an active part of the racing world, winning last year’s Australian Dirt Track title. The last time Bayliss rode the Panigale was during a test at the Italian circuit of Mugello in May 2014.
Having completed the last pre-season tests only yesterday, at the same Phillip Island circuit, Chaz Davies feels well prepared for the upcoming races at the Island, a track that the Welshman enjoys and that has, in the past, suited the Ducati Superbike very well. During testing, the Italian factory squad worked hard to identify the ideal set-up for the Ducati Panigale R bikes. Both Davies and Giugliano, prior to his incident, were able to set some impressive lap times during the latest test sessions, results that bode well for the upcoming races.
The weekend’s track activity will get underway on Friday with the first two Superbike timed practice sessions of Round 1 of the 2015 championship. The event also represents the 25th anniversary of World Superbikes at the spectacular track of Phillip Island, with various initiatives planned over the course of the weekend in celebration of this milestone.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team #7)
“Phillip Island is one of those tracks where I’d like to take two solid finishes but it’s not always so easy here. Right now I feel confident that we’ve worked well on our overall package and that we are more or less there where we need to be. Perhaps a couple of pieces of the puzzle are still missing but we still have time to work on those areas. I’m getting more and more comfortable with the bike and so overall, at this point in time, I’m feeling positive and looking forward to the race weekend.”
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.”