Former WSB Champion Troy Bayliss returned to the Ducati factory Superbike squad this year after three somewhat frustrating years in MotoGP. One of the older riders on the grid, Bayliss could have been expected to struggle on his V-Twin Ducati against the 1000cc Japanese fours. Indeed, a capacity hike to put the V-Twins on “equal footing” with the four-cylinder machines is expected before next year.
Despite the circumstances, Bayliss is pretty much dominating the WSB series after 4 rounds (8 races) are in the books. With his double victory at Monza last weekend, he has 5 straight race wins, and a 36-point lead over reigning champ Troy Corser (Suzuki).
One has to wonder whether the spectacular performance of Bayliss will lead the Japanese manufacturers to push back against the expected engine capacity hike for V-Twins. Ducati would argue that, although Bayliss’ bike is certainly competitive, V-Twins are at a distinct disadvantage from the perspective of cost. Everyone believes the factory 999s ridden by Bayliss and Lorenzo Lanzi are tuned to a knife-edge – requiring more frequent and expensive maintenance.
In any event, we are witnessing the somewhat surprising resurgence of a former World Champion who has undoubtedly left his competitors shaking their heads in bewilderment. After all, Bayliss is aboard the only V-Twin currently ranked in the top 6 in the points standings. The clear horsepower advantage wielded by the Japanese fours has meant nothing, thus far.