Troy Bayliss returned the World Superbike championship to Ducati by winning his second world title, one round early, at Imola on Sunday.

In front of 86,000 spectators at the Autodromo Enzo & Dino Ferrari, the 37 year-old Australian, WSBK champion back in 2001, took the crown with a subdued fifth place in race one, in which Alex Barros took his first victory.

But in the second race of the day, Bayliss - who returned to WSBK this season after three often tough years in MotoGP - led from start to finish, taking his eleventh win of the season in the process.

"I'm really happy for myself and for Ducati Xerox with the title win," declared Troy. "We've worked well all year, the second half has been a little bit up and down but I've just had to ride harder. I got a good start in race one, I really wanted to go for the win but I think we chose the wrong rear tyre and I was struggling a bit so in the end I was happy to let Pitt pass me and then I let Nori pass me as well. It's been very busy today with all the Ducati factory here but I'm happy as well for everyone who made this win possible, Xerox and Shell Advance above all, but to do it at Imola today was very special. I've got a great team, and a lovely bike, and I wanted to win the second race to put the icing on the cake!"

Bayliss's triumph takes the number of riders' titles won by Ducati in the production-based series to twelve, while the battle for the manufacturers' title is still open with one round left. Last season, Alstare Suzuki's Troy Corser took the riders' championship from Ducati, which had won it for the previous two seasons with James Toseland and Neil Hodgson.

"It's a great satisfaction to have Troy as world champion for the second time," said Federico Minoli, Chairman of Ducati Motor Holding. "He has come back home, he has given the best of himself, the bike is there, the team also, so this is the crowning of teamwork that began a long time ago: congratulations to Troy and everyone, it's been a great day!"

Bayliss has already re-signed with Ducati for a further two seasons.