Valentino Rossi gives up on Troy Bayliss/WSB clash

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Valentino Rossi has admitted defeat in his bid to set up a dream World Superbike clash with Troy Bayliss.

The Italian though insists he still wants to have a go in a World Superbike race before he hangs up his leathers, though for the time being his two-wheeled racing exploits will have to be limited to just defending his MotoGP crown in 2009.

Rossi had submitted a formal request to Yamaha to make a one-off appearance on a factory-backed R1, with the Qatar round next month pencilled in for the battle between MotoGP world champion and WSB champion Bayliss.

Aussie Bayliss told MCN in an exclusive interview that he’d want £1m to step out of retirement, but Ducati bosses recently said they would consider supporting the showdown.

But Rossi has admitted defeat in his quest, by saying:  “It was a fun idea, and I would have been very happy. I would still like to do a race in superbike and I would like to battle with Bayliss, because he is the world champion!

“Unfortunately it is a bit of a difficult period and I didn’t have the chance, but I hope that in the future, maybe next year, we can do it.”

Rossi’s Fiat Yamaha team boss Davide Brivio had supported his bid to contest a WSB race, and he too refused to rule out the option of a future one-off race in the rival four-stroke series.

Brivio said: “We were very excited at the idea of riding in a superbike race. Valentino influenced us with his desire for new challenges and experiences. The idea of going to Qatar and racing in Superbike was very exciting.

“We’d have done it with great respect and with the idea to have fun, this was our attitude. Valentino belongs to the MotoGP championship, but he would have tried Superbike just to test himself against those riders, whom he always follows them because they, too, are very good.

“Unfortunately this wasn’t possible because Yamaha is working on the new R1 motorbike, and there are not many spare parts available yet. Setting up the bike for Valentino Rossi was technically impossible.

“Furthermore, because he is Valentino Rossi, we wanted to do things well and eventually we had to come to the conclusion that this wasn’t going to be possible.

“Valentino was very sad when we had to cancel this experience, but we might consider it again in the future. I believe he could be competitive, but we didn’t intend to win the race.

“We’d have gone with the idea of doing our best to see what level we could reach in one race. It would have been interesting, like a challenge of the past.

“I hope we consider it again in the future, I will keep dreaming of it.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt