Triple World Superbike champion Troy Bayliss reaches the end of a late-starting, but incredibly successful, WSBK career in Sunday's 2008 season finale at the awesome new Portimao circuit in Portugal.

Bayliss will head into retirement having been World Superbike champion in 2001, 2006 and 2008 (Troy rode in MotoGP from 2003 to 2005) plus British Superbike champion in 1999. The Australian also boasts a mighty WSBK strike rate of 50 wins and 92 podiums from just 150 starts.

The 39-year-old is now gathering strength for one final push as he aims to sign off his WSBK career on the top step of the podium, just as he did when he won on his final MotoGP appearance, as a stand-in for Sete Gibernau at Valencia in 2006.

"I am a lot more relaxed now that I know that we have done what we set out to do. We've won the riders' and constructors' titles and can tick that off the list," said Troy. "Now I can go to Portimao knowing that a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

"It's been a long and stressful year and I'm tired, I feel I have just enough energy left to complete these last two races... I would love to finish the season, and my career, with a win so that's my goal this weekend, to ride with no pressure and just enjoy what will be my final two Superbike races!"

Bayliss, like his rivals, will face the additional uncertainty of a new challenge this weekend in Portugal, but with the confidence of having been among those present for a two day test at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, near Portimao, last week.

"I'm looking forward to racing there, as what we saw during the recent test days was a very impressive track!" declared the Ducati Xerox star, who has won nine race so far this season.

Team-mate Michel Fabrizio, who will be joined by Noriyuki Haga in 2009, heads for the season finale eighth in the championship standings with a best finish of second. The Italian is looking forward to conclude his first season as a factory WSBK rider on a high.

"We saw last week that the circuit is really beautiful, like a roller coaster ride!" said Michel. "Even though the track is not especially fast there are some very fast sections. During testing it was still very dirty so it remains to be seen whether it will be any cleaner this week, I hope so!

"I like the layout a lot and am looking forward to the racing. Earlier in the year at Miller, a track I hadn't raced at before, I finished up on the podium; who knows, maybe I can do the same at Portimao, it would be a great finish to the season," he added.



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