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Bayliss provides glimpse of his future challenge to Rossi´s throne

Bayliss provides glimpse of his future challenge to Rossi´s throne

Bayliss provides glimpse of his future challenge to Rossi´s throne

Sete Gibernau´s controlled and emotional victory at Welkom naturally made the headlines but it was the emergence of former World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss on the Ducati that proved to be one of the major talking points of the GP. After only two rounds the brand new Italian machine has led both races at some stage in the hands of Loris Capirossi and the likeable Aussie.

The 34 year old made a fantastic start in South Africa and placed his snarling blood-red four-stroke at the front of the field, heading Gibernau, Biaggi and Rossi for the first third of the race. Grinding sparks in the faces of his experienced GP rivals around virtually every corner, ´Baylisstic´ eventually succumbed to the pace of the Hondas but held on for a highly impressive fourth to continue his excellent progression of results (after fifth position in Japan).

Having won Superbike races in Australia, Britain and the WSB Championships surely it is only a matter of time before Bayliss extends his trophy-heavy CV to the MotoGP series. Here is the man´s words after a memorable display in the sun of Welkom:

´My start wasn´t so bad but I only missed Nakano by millimetres after he seemed to stall!´ he said. ´I was thinking ´I shouldn´t be out front just yet, maybe not for another couple of races´, I took it a bit steady, checking the mess from the oil, then it was just nice to be part of the action because that's what it is all about. I had a good go with Valentino. It was great to be in the race; it has been a while. The bike was working really well, the only problem was that we'd lifted the footpegs a little and that was really uncomfortable for my knees. I virtually cruised the last ten laps because I knew that I could not do any better than fourth. The team has done a great job here. We´ve still got some things to learn but we are all looking forward to Jerez.´

MotoGP, 2003, Arnette Africa's Grand Prix, Valentino Rossi

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