NEW LINE-UP FOR THE 2006 DUCATI XEROX WORLD SUPERBIKE TEAM - FORMER CHAMPION TROY BAYLISS RETURNS TO SUPERBIKE AND LORENZO LANZI JOINS THE FACTORY SQUAD FULL-TIME
Bologna (Italy), Friday 14 October 2005: The Ducati Xerox Team will compete in next year's World Superbike Championship with a new rider line-up. Australian Troy Bayliss returns to Ducati to spearhead the squad and he will be flanked by Italian newcomer Lorenzo Lanzi, who sensationally notched up two late wins in this year's series, the most recent one being last weekend at Magny-Cours in the championship finale.
Troy Bayliss is, to put it simply, a legend for Ducati. The 36 year-old from Taree in Australia burst onto the World Superbike scene in 2000 as replacement for the injured Carl Fogarty and then won the title the following year. After finishing runner-up to Colin Edwards in 2002, Troy moved to MotoGP in 2003 and 2004 with the factory Ducati team, with whom he obtained some superb results, in particular in 2003. Troy has now opted to return to the championship in which he made his name, and the Ducati Xerox Team rider will surely be one of the protagonists in next year's series, which gets underway on February 25, in Qatar.
"The biggest thing is that it feels like I'm coming home ... and I don't mean to Australia!" commented Bayliss. "I'm really looking forward to hopping back on a Ducati Superbike. Even though the bike has changed quite a lot, the engine is still very similar and has been much improved since I've been away so it's a built-in package already waiting there for me. I have a lot of good memories from the past and I aim to continue having more of them".
"I've been there and done it before, it's still all in the memory bank so hopefully I can come back and have a good season next year. It's going to be awesome and I just can't wait to start. The championship is looking strong now, all the manufacturers are back and it's going to be great to be there with Ducati and challenge all the other guys for the title".
The other rider in the Ducati Xerox Team will be Lorenzo Lanzi, the 23-year-old Italian from San Piero in Bagno, province of Cesena. The youngster has also had a meteoric rise to fame, becoming a World Superbike winner in his rookie season this year. Three years in 125 and 250 from 1999 to 2001 were followed by Lorenzo's first experience with four-stroke machines and Ducati in the 2003 European Superstock championship, in which he was runner-up. He then finished fifth in the 2004 World Supersport championship with the Breil-sponsored factory Ducati 749 and was promoted to Superbike the following year with the satellite Ducati SC Caracchi team to race a customer 999RS bike. As replacement for the injured Regis Laconi, Lanzi then stepped onto the factory 999F05 machine in the Ducati Xerox Team, and scored a sensational win at the Eurospeedway at his first attempt. The decision to move Lorenzo Lanzi into Ducati's factory WSBK team is just reward for one of Italy's most promising new talents.
"I am really happy to join the factory Ducati Xerox Team in the World Superbike Championship, because it was an aim I had fixed for myself in 2003 when I was racing in Superstock" declared Lanzi. "Now that it's happened I am so happy because it is the dream of so many Italian riders to race for the Ducati factory team".
"I have arrived in the team at the right time. I know everyone in the squad and have already won two of the last races of the season so my motivation is high. In addition I will have a true maestro at my side like Troy Bayliss, who will help me for sure. Now I just can't wait to start the new season with my new Ducati Xerox Team!" concluded Lanzi.
Ducati Corse Superbike director Paolo Ciabatti added: "Next year we will be taking part in the World Superbike Championship with an exciting new rider line-up and the F06 version of the Ducati 999. We warmly welcome Troy and Lorenzo into the team and believe that this combination of experience and youth will help us to continue our winning tradition in World Superbike.
"Rider changes are always a hard choice to make and it was particularly difficult on this occasion, because James Toseland and Regis Laconi have both made a fantastic contribution to Ducati's success in the last two years, James winning the 2004 title and Regis scoring ten wins with us. I would like to thank them for everything that they have done for Ducati in this period and wish them all the best for the future".