Ducati prepared to take 17-year old Oli Bayliss under its wing

Twenty years after his father Troy Bayliss lifted the first of three WorldSBK titles, it seems his 17-year old son Oli Bayliss is on Ducati's radar too


Ducati Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti has revealed it is devising a plan that could see teenager Oli Bayliss - son of three-time WorldSBK Champion Troy Bayliss - enter the world championship under its tutelage.

Bayliss Jnr is currently ascending the domestic Australian ranks at a swift pace. Having finished runner-up in the 2020 Australian Supersport Championship aged just 16-years old, now - at 17 - he competes in the Australian Superbike Championship.

Riding a full fat Ducati Panigale V4 R prepared by his father’s own Desmosport team, Bayliss has settled into the 1000cc way of life rapidly and currently sits fourth in the standings having scored his first win at the most recent Hidden Valley round.

His success at such a young age coupled with that surname is already catching the attention of figures in the WorldSBK paddock, not least Ducati, who provided the tools for Troy’s three WorldSBK titles and all 52 of his race wins.

Though time is on its side when deciding whether to take the teenager on board, Ciabatti tells Speedweek it would be a pleasure to welcome the Bayliss family back into the fold.

"Give us a little more time, we have some ideas for the near future. We have a plan for him, if not a fixed one yet. I've known Oli since he was born, and my relationship with Troy goes far beyond professional collaboration. 

“I remember this little fellow with the same blue eyes as his father who put the tricycle aside when he was two. Oli is a clone of his father! Troy gave him a lot of tips.”

One potential option could be to introduce him to the international fray via the WorldSSP Championship, which Ducati will return to in 2022 provided the regulations are tweaked to allow it to run the 955cc Panigale V2.

It would be particularly fitting given Ducati has just revealed a Troy Bayliss 20th Anniversary special edition of the V2 honouring the Aussie’s first WorldSBK title in 2001. For ‘Dad’ though, the focus for Oli remains his school work.

"The plan is for him to finish school,” he said. “He still has two months, which are very important. We could have gone to Europe two years ago. In 2016, Ben Henry and I founded the DesmoSport Ducati team, at that time Oli was already riding the 300. In my heart it was clear to me that if he was fast he would drive for us. But I also knew that I wouldn't let it drive with us if it wasn't fast. 

“Just because I have a team doesn't automatically mean he drives for me. Fortunately, he has proven himself and has won every class so far. But he is an independent person with his own ideas. I like to help him on his way, there is not much more I can do."