Blog: Bayliss joins club

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MCN MotoGP reporter Matt Birt exclusively shares hs views post Valencia.. Matt has spent years living out of a suitcase to follow the MotoGP circus around the world, to get the inside scoops for MCN…

So Troy Bayliss became the 10th rider in history to win a MotoGP and a World Superbike race with that outstanding success in Valencia.

If you can name the other nine, answers on a postcard please? I figured that Troy wouldn’t be down in Spain for a Sunday afternoon stroll, but I didn’t genuinely believe he would come down and dominate like he did, even showing Loris Capirossi up a little bit to be honest.

Let’s not forget, Bayliss had never ridden on Bridgestone’s and it was his first time on the Desmosedici in exactly two years. Yet he was able to rock up in Valencia – granted a track he’s an expert on – and demolish the cream of MotoGP.

A big part of it would have been Bridgestone in my opjnion. We’ve seen in the past in places like Sepang, Jerez and Motegi that when the track comes to the tyres, they are virtually unbeatable. Bayliss has always been fairly abusive on the front tyre and that is Bridgestone’s real strong point and their consistent advantage over Michelin. I remember when Loris Capirossi first tried Bridgestone at the back end of 2004 for the first time he couldn’t believe the grip from the front.

Apparently Bayliss jumped on the bike on Friday and all he did for the rest of the weekend was put fuel in it.

Even Capirossi said: “Troy was f**king unbelievable.” Bayliss winning what was the biggest MotoGP race for a quarter of a century was certainly a coup for WSB. Whatever people say, there is definitely a ‘them and us’ element between MotoGP and WSB. I remember when Colin Edwards first came to MotoGP, he said most people in superbikes would watch every MotoGP and would take a big interest in it.

But when he came to MotoGP he realised that nobody really gave a stuff about WSB in the paddock, and hardly ever watched a race.

True enough, Bayliss had nothing to lose and he could go gung-ho in Valencia, while there was a lot at stake for some of those other guys. What I found strange is how he made it look so easy in beating Capirossi. Loris has been on that bike on those tyres for the last two years.

I know some of the Italian’s were scratching their heads that Bayliss could just turn up and do that.

There was definitely a sense of Bayliss wanting to prove a point in Valencia. Troy was always going to be remembered in MotoGP as the guy that failed on a Honda on Michelins after his disastrous 2005. Harsh but true. Everybody was scoffing in MotoGP this year saying ‘look at Bayliss, he couldn’t ride a Honda RCV yet he goes back to WSB and starts winning every week.’

To some extent that is true. The depth of talent in MotoGP compared to WSB is completely different. When Troy and Edwards used to line-up on the grid in WSB they were only really racing each other. Yet in MotoGP they’d look around and see five or six riders easily capable of beating them. Troy would have just been another WSB rider who couldn’t really raise his game to the same level in MotoGP.

That Ducati though suits him down to the ground. Bayliss is hardly a finesse rider and that make him great to watch. When I saw him on the Suzuki 250 for the first time when he replaced, he just sits on it, twisted the throttle as hard as he could and rode the wheels off it. Watching him bounce off technically immaculate riders like Tetusya Harada that day was fantastic.

But the Desmosedici is not as rigid as its competitors and certainly not as knife-edge to set-up like the RCV. Capirossi has always complained ever since he first rode the Ducati in 2003 that the chassis was too flexible and that’s something Bologna engineers have eradicated on the new 800. You don’t need to be a genius to know the Ducati trellis frame flexes too much when you watch Capirossi because sometimes he looks more a rodeo bull rider. And sometimes you have to shut you’re eyes when you see it weaving on the fast straights. World Superbikes are more like sponges and move around more. Coming from that background the Ducati would have suited Bayliss, while the more rigid Honda wouldn’t have helped his hang it all riding style.

I know Bayliss wanted things tailored for his own style when he rode the Camel Honda but being a satellite rider what you get at the start of the season is what you get for the whole season. New parts for Honda’s satellite riders are always issued on a performance related basis. If you’re doing well, we’ll help. If not, forget it.

When Ducati sacked him at the end of 2004, it hurt like hell for Troy. And when he got that phone call asking him to replace Sete Gibernau he was probably thinking ‘ right, I’ll show some of you lot who didn’t think I was good enough.’

I don’t know if you saw on the TV in Parc Ferme on Saturday when he’d got on the front row but Troy blanked Ducati boss Livio Suppo when he tried to congratulate him. Livio ousted Bayliss and clearly there is still bad blood.

Allegedly it got a bit fruity in the garage after the race. Suppo apparently went to congratulate Troy again after his brilliant win and the response was supposed to have involved some colourful language. It was denied by Suppo and Bayliss, but knowing how much Troy was hurt by his sacking, it wouldn’t surprise me if that did happen.

Later. M

MCN Staff

By MCN Staff