Troy Bayliss has admitted he came very close to re-signing with Ducati Xerox for another season a couple of months ago, but insists he will definitely hang up his helmet at the end of this season.
Bayliss looks set to end his swansong season on the best possible note as he heads into the final three rounds of the year clutching a three-figure lead.
The flip-side for the team though is that his demise will leave a significant hole, one that will be hard for the multiple champions to fill with a rider who is equally as capable.
Indeed, team manager Davide Tardozzi has already revealed that he tried to persuade Bayliss to remain for one more season, a plea that very nearly had him signing on the dotted line again.
“I nearly re-signed about two months ago,” he told Crash.net Radio
. “I really felt like I wanted to do more, but I did make my mind up months ago.”
Nonetheless, the imminent announcement that Noriyuki Haga will take Bayliss' position in the team means the Australian superstar will definitely be walking away from the championship at the end of 2008.
Not that it has been an easy decision for Bayliss, who feels he is more than capable of riding on for several more years. However, at the same time he believes he needs to use his retirement as a chance to concentrate on his family and 'chill out'.
“Sometimes I get to the point where I feel like I'm giving my bike away – it's like giving away a pet. I feel like I'm lending it to someone else and I won't be getting it back, so it is really hard to explain.
“I need to chill out and relax for a while back in Australia. The kids are sorted out in schools and the most important thing for me is to calm down a little, which is getting harder and harder because I am a racer at heart.
“I could ride until I put myself in a body bag, but the right thing to do is to stop this year, enjoy my family and start a new chapter in my life.”