Big news for fans of the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship came down today in the form of former 3-Time World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss being confirmed to ride the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati at all five mile races this season. Bayliss won all three of his WSBK titles under the Ducati banner, and is only one of three current men to have won a MotoGP World Championship event aboard the Italian marque as well (Casey Stoner, Loris Capirossi).
This is big news for the series and it's fans, as Bayliss has a world wide legion of fans, starting from his days of racing in his home country of Australia and grew exponentially after dominating in the World Superbike Championship with 52 wins, three titles ('01, '06, '08) and 94 podiums throughout his illustrious WSBK career. The Australian also scored 26 pole positions throughout his six+ seasons racing in the premier superbike championship in the world. TB21 also won the '99 British Superbike Championship aboard a Ducati 996.
This should also help to give The Rolling Thunder Show a broader fan base and maybe even open up the series for a more broad based throng of fans, with many of today's motorcycle racing fans more familiar with the World Superbike and MotoGP Championships. With Bayliss following, it could help to put more paying butts in the seats and to open up the fan base to a younger crowd that isn't familiar with the greatest racing series on two wheels in the world.
In the shot above, Mike Lloyd, half of the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports brothers and team owners, works on getting the #5 Ramspur Winery/Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/Parkinson Brothers Racing-sponsored Ducati 'L' twin back-up machine of rider Jake Johnson ready for some practice and qualifying action at round 14 of the 2014 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship at the Springfield Mile II on August 31. Along with the LBM Ducati and three other mounts prepped by the team, Johnson finished third in the 2014 championship standings.
The LBM team has been campaigning the big Ducati in AMA Pro Flat Track for what will now be their seventh full season, after transitioning from the Aprilia twins they had raced before making the move to the big 'L' twin, with which 2000 AMA Grand National Champion Joe Kopp finally got the team their breakout win at the Prescott, AZ. mile in May of 2010. Their dedication to the sport as well as their leading edge of professional appearance in the AMA paddock has put them at the front of the sport in terms of their approach and outlook on the series, and they have set the bar across the board in these areas as well as putting some of the best and finest racers on their equipment over the years including Kopp, Larry Pegram, Henry Wiles and last year's team rider, 2-Time AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson.
Mike and Dave Lloyd also had a special bike prepped and ready to go for '02 AMA Superbike Champ and '06 MotoGP Champ Nicky Hayden at the 2010 Indy Mile, which the Kentucky Kid used to thrill the crowd during a short on-track demo ride. And with their long association of building the big Italian twins (both with and without direct backing from the Bologna, Italy-based factory or it's U.S. entities) have always managed to rep the brand, the series, their sponsors and the fans in a way that has made their level of diversity in the series stand out among the rest.
It has also been reported today that former AMA Supermoto Champ and Daytona Short Track winner Johnny Lewis will be joining the team and will compete in the majority of Twins Series events as well as the XGames this summer under the LBM banner.
Check out the full press release below thanks to AMA Pro Racing, as we offer a big congrats to the LBM boys for being able to get this deal put together in order to bring one of the most popular riders in the World Superbike Championship over to run one of their rigs, and for getting a rider of Lewis' background and magnitude to ride one of their bikes for the full season. Make sure and get your tickets to one (or ALL) of the five mile races this year as seeing Bayliss race one of the LBM Ducatis is not only going to be big, but it's going to be fast and fun, too!
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 21, 2015) - Troy Bayliss, the Australian road racing superstar and winner of three World Superbike titles, is coming to the USA to compete in the most iconic and historic form of American motorcycle racing.
Bayliss will run five events on the AMA Pro Flat Track schedule, putting him in the field against the best dirt track racers in the world. He is set to make his debut on a Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati May 24 at the legendary Springfield Mile in Springfield, Ill., and will run the four remaining Mile events on the 2015 schedule.
"Having Troy Bayliss race with AMA Pro Flat Track, at some of our most storied venues, really multiplies the excitement and positive momentum we have as a sport right now," said Michael Gentry, Chief Operating Officer of AMA Pro Racing. "With his own exhibition race, as well as the Superprestigio and with his impressive resume with World Superbike, British Superbike and MotoGP, Troy is one of the motorcycle racing greats. Seeing him on American dirt is a mouth-watering prospect for USA race fans. We are looking forward to the excitement created by his presence in our paddock. A lot of work went into making this a reality and we are thankful to David and Michael Lloyd of Lloyd Brothers Motorsports, Jim Dillard, Vicki Smith and Ducati North America for their vision, support and participation."
Top road racers have long used dirt track as a training regimen, but Bayliss has taken it to a new level since his retirement from full-time competition in 2008. For the last three years, he's successfully promoted the Troy Bayliss Classic flat track exhibition in Australia, an event that has attracted top AMA Pro Flat Track riders such as current Grand National Champion Jared Mees, Sammy Halbert and Henry Wiles.
Following the Springfield Mile, Bayliss is scheduled to race the Sacramento Mile on May 30. July 4 and 11, he'll run the Du Quoin Mile and Indy Mile, respectively, before finishing with the second running of the Springfield Mile Sept. 6.
"Dirt and flat track racing are where I cut my teeth as a junior. Everything I have learned on the dirt helped me through my career in road racing and to find myself back where it all started makes me feel young again," said Bayliss. "To race the Grand Nationals will be a challenge, but to compete with Lloyd Brothers Motorsports on the Ducati had to be done. Flat track is on the up here in Australia. We have run the Troy Bayliss Classic for the past three years and mixing it up with Henry Wiles, Jared Mees and Sammy Halbert has been great. I really look forward to my time in the US of A."
Bayliss, 46, recorded 94 podium finishes in 152 World Superbike starts, including 52 victories. He recorded his only MotoGP victory as a wildcard entrant in 2006, filling in for the injured Factory Ducati rider, Sete Gibernau, in Valencia, Spain. His decorated resume also includes a British Superbike Championship, which he won in 1999.
Next up, the stars of AMA Pro Flat Track will visit Springfield, Ill., for the first Springfield Mile on May 24, 2015. Fans can get their tickets by calling (217) 753-8866.
The entire event can also be viewed live and in high definition at www.FansChoice.tv.
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.