Australian Troy Bayliss will make a surprise return to motorbike racing after reportedly accepting a role with Ducati to test the team?s MotoGP bike.
Bayliss retired late last year after securing his third World Superbike Championship, returning to Australia with the intention of launching a career in V8 Supercars.
While he was linked with an endurance drive at Triple Eight Racing, Bayliss has answered an SOS call from his previous employers in a bid to improve Ducati?s fortunes in MotoGP this season.
Although 2007 World Champion Casey Stoner and satellite rider Mika Kallio have performed impressively this season, Ducati?s remaining riders have struggled to adapt to the company?s new GP9 machine.
Bayliss will join regular tester Vittoriano Guareschi at Mugello to help develop the bike, examining Ducati?s new electrical system ahead of the Le Mans round this weekend.
Ducati boss Livio Suppo said the team has also made a number of changes at management to increase the company?s competitiveness across the board.
"After the race at Jerez, which was fantastic for Casey but very difficult for Nicky, we had a few meetings to analyse our technical and organisational structure, with the goal of improving the all-round performances of our riders," he told Autosport.
"The GP9 is still a very young machine and for the first time in MotoGP we have five bikes on the grid. For these two reasons we have decided that we need to concentrate more on co-ordinating all the data that we gather at each race in order to provide more direction for development.?