Iconic Ducati rider Troy Bayliss wasn’t even supposed to race in the Thailand round of the World Superbike Championship. But an injury to Davide Giugliano in the Philip Island round of the series put Ducati in a bind. Giugliano would be unavailable for the race, so the company did what it had to do: tap an old head to do it one more solid.

Well, it looks like Ducati’s gamble on Bayliss paid off because the 46-year old rider was at his absolute best, putting on a riding clinic to a competitive field made up of riders half of his age. Bayliss didn’t win the race, finishing in 8th position - a penalty did cause him to drop by one place to 9th - in Race 1 and 11th in Race 2.

Ducati knew that winning this race was going to be tough even with Giugliano in the saddle. But once he went down with the injury, Ducati had to do what it could to just get a competitive bike in the race. Bayliss did that and more, securing valuable points for the team, even if it meant that his ride was a one-shot deal.

Still, you can’t help but admire the way Bayliss competed and finished in competitive fashion. For somebody pushing the envelope to 50 years old, his performance at the Thailand round of the SBK championship shows just how good Troy Bayliss was and still is.

Click "continue reading" to read more about Troy Bayliss’ impressive performance at the World Superbike Championship.

Why it matters

How many 46 years old do you know can do what Troy Bayliss just did? You know what my answer to that is? None.

Granted, I see a lot of middle-aged men ride their bikes until the proverbial wheels fall off. But I haven’t seen anybody who competes in the highest levels of motorcycle racing retire and then come back on a whim and have the kind of performance Troy Bayliss just had.

It’s like asking Michael Jordan to come out of retirement for one game with the Charlotte Hornets and he ends up hitting the game-winner. These kinds of things don’t happen everyday, especially in a sports that’s as competitive as motorcycle racing.

It’s not just the race itself that you have to think about. The training and the preparation before a race is just as important, maybe more so. For Bayliss to get the call on short notice, train in even shorter notice, and perform the way he did at the Thailand round of the WSBK is living proof that Bayliss is one of the best motorcycle riders I’ve ever seen.

You don’t get to do all of that and still finish high enough to give your team valuable points it might need at the end of the season. And yet there he was, 46-year old Troy Bayliss, putting on a show like only he and a few others are capable of doing.

It’s still unclear if Ducati will tap Bayliss back to race for them in the next few rounds of the series.. But Giugliano is still recovering and he isn’t expected back until the Imola round of the series from May 8 to 10, 2015. Before that, two rounds will take place and while it’s been rumored that the team’s MotoGP test rider, Michelle Pirro, is the likely candidate to seat on Giugliano’s seat until he comes back, I wouldn’t put it past Ducati to once again call its iconic racer to put in a few more points-laden results in their cupboard.

Source: Ducati Racing

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