Troy Bayliss is old enough to be Jonathan Rea’s dad. Not that you’d have noticed this morning at round two of the WSBK championships, this time from new to the series Chang international circuit in Thailand. It appears that Bayliss may have announced his permanent retirement after he and Alex Lowes were docked a position for overtaking under a yellow flag in race one, despite running well in both races, Bayliss clearly isn’t happy with the decision. It was a race day that Brit’ racer fans can be proud of. All three-podium spots in both races were ours. Kawasaki ZX-10R mounted Rea bagged pole and (from the comfort of my sofa) appeared to cruise to a ten point lead over Aprilia rider Leon Haslam and a 45 point gap over team mate Tom Sykes with a double win. There was a bit of buzz on social media and from the Eurosport commentary guys about Sykes’ body language out on track. Now I’m no doctor, but it’s clearly pretty hard to diagnose how a patient feels when they’re doing 190 mph with a dark visor covering their face. He bagged a podium in race one thanks to Alex Lowes making a mistake and despite rookie Jordi Torres best efforts. Torres had the better of Sykes in race two, finishing four seconds ahead in fourth place. Sykes crossed the line in a lonely fifth, a full nine seconds ahead of last years champion Sylvain Guintoli. Tom’s previous success seemed to have a snowball effect, the more he won the better he looked. Here’s hoping he can tap back into the form he’s showed over the previous two seasons in time to give his new team mate a run for his money. If you missed the racing on TV this morning, have a look for footage of Guinters start in race two. From the back of the grid he nailed half the field into turn one. His sixth place finish not really doing justice to the effort that he put into the race.
It was hard not to cheer every time the cameras focused on Bayliss, I’m not fussed where he finishes, it’s just nice to see someone having some fun and not feeling the pressure of team sponsors and the bigger racing picture. That said, if news of his retirement is true, clearly he’s still got enough fire in his belly to not be happy with a race decision. If he’s still on the bike when the championship heads to Assen, I’ll be packing my bags and riding over to see him doing his thing myself. He’s put on more than one show at Assen in the past, I think if there’s anywhere he can bloody a nose or two up front, it’ll be there.
It’s early days in terms of the championship, but how cool is it that all of the contenders at this stage have a little union jack flag next to their name on the big screen. For years we’ve all been saying that if Jonathan Rea had a bike that matched his obvious talent, then he’d be able to run at the front. What we saw this morning was exactly that and more. The same has to be said of Leon Haslam, he has clicked with the Aprilia and is sure to feature at the front more and more as the season develops. If those guys even think about missing a gear, Alex Lowes and the Suzuki GSX-R will no doubt stick one on the pair of them, he’s certainly serious about 2015. A final thing to think about is the apparent lack of excitement surrounding the series. With MotoGP and BSB slipping the warmers on for the season, we’re going to be spoilt for choice as race fans. World supers is in danger of being swallowed up among the chatter that surrounds Marquez’ elbow and Shakey’s fifth run at a BSB crown. If the racing today from Thailand was anything to go by, I think we race fans are set for a peach of a year. All we need is for Stoner to follow Bayliss’ suit and jump back in the mix in GP’s and Neil Hodgson to get the BSB itch and we’re set.