Troy Bayliss will race with his iconic #21 plate when he makes his surprise return to the World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island.

The three-time world champion will make a spectacular comeback to the series at Phillip Island this weekend after putting himself forward to replace the injured Davide Giugliano on the Aruba.it Ducati Panigale R.

It will be his first competitive international race since Portimao 2008, when he retired shortly after picking up his third world title. Since then, Bayliss has worked as a Ducati ambassador and has completed numerous testing exercises, though this will represent an entirely new challenge in terms of regulations and even recent mileage having not done any pre-season testing.

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Nonetheless, when Bayliss does return he will be able to use his famed '21' plate on the bike, while Australian fans will no doubt be eager to see how he performs against the latest crop of riders.

As a reference, the only riders on the grid during that race weekend seven years ago that are competing this weekend are Leon Haslam and Jonathan Rea. Even then, the former was a wild-card on the BSB HM Plant Honda and the latter was making his WSBK debut for Ten Kate Honda.