THE potential wildcard ride for Troy Bayliss has fallen through after Effenbert Liberty Racing revealed that the budget they put aside to bring the triple World Superbike champion out of retirement will instead be used to run Canadian Brett McCormick on a fourth Ducati 1198.
Bayliss had hoped for a couple of wildcard rides this season and bemoaned that Ducati had disallowed the offer. However Ernesto Marinelli, Project Leader for Ducati Corse SBK, later went on record stating that the Australian was welcome to wildcard at Imola and that there was a bike ready for him if he wanted it.
Now it seems that the deal has fallen through and reigning Canadian Superbike champion McCormick will step-up to the WSB line-up from Imola onwards - after being originally contracted to ride the 1199 Panigale for the team in the Superstock series.
Team Mario Bertuccio said: "The Effenbert company believes in motorsport and its use as the most powerful promotional engine so much that it was in their contemplation to run a Liberty Racing bike with legendary Troy Bayliss on a couple of occasions this season. They had a strong desire to give him the opportunity to ride as a wildcard in a few races.
"Unfortunately, as we all know, this intention was not fulfilled successfully for various reasons. At this point, the possibility has vanished completely and Effenbert decided to reconsider other options of further investments in the team, with regard to the budget, which eventually resulted in the decision to engage a fourth permanent rider for the entire 2012 season. This decision is also promising something very interesting.”
McCormick's opportunity to join the existing Efferbert Liberty riders Sylvain Guintoli, Jakub Smrz and Maxime Berger has been confirmed after the rumours emerged yesterday. The Canadian said: "My dream has always been to race in SBK and now that I have this opportunity, I will give it everything on the track. Recently, I’ve been studying and memorising the circuits, which obviously I do not know well, so that when the D-day comes, I am prepared as much as I can.”
Bertuccio added that the decision to promote McCormick is in line with the team's philosophy of nurturing young talent.
Should Bayliss enjoy retirement or keep fighting for that wildcard ride?