While I’ve spent my life around cars, some of the builders and collectors happen to have some amazing motorbikes in their collections, some with local race history and some with international provenance. Few people have seen a legit track-ready Desmosedici up close, even hardcore bike fans, and yet I’ve been lucky enough to fire one up at RACE! in Barbeque Downs. While an Italian supercar has a fantastic tone on cold-start, the crackling of a race-prepped Italian motorbike is just something else. This happened many years ago, and I recall the value of the bike being quite something, so seeing a bike ridden by Troy Bayliss in 2003 come up for auction had me doing some calculations and guesses as to what it could be valued at and I was way, way off. The bike in question that’s headed to auction at Boham’s is Troy’s 2003 ex-works Ducati 990cc GP3 Grand Prix race bike, frame no. D16 GP3 TB1. There’s a lot that makes this bike special, besides the fact that it was used in competition by one of the world’s best riders. The bike was the very first Ducati MotoGP model, and it went against the usual trends seen in circuit racing at the time, featuring a tubular steel trellis instead of the aluminium beam frame. The V4 powerplant made it the most powerful bike in the class at the time. It helped a lot that MotoGP’s top class has just moved over to 4-stroke engines, something that Ducati has lots of experience with these engines; the water-cooled 8-valve V-twin V4 as seen in the 851, 888 and 916 series bikes.
Troy usually raced under No.21, but a different, established rider was already using the number so for 2003 he raced under No.12, simply reversing the digits. That season the new bike and new rider performed great by winning a race and also finishing 2nd in the manufacturers' championship. Troy finished 6th in the rider's World Championship, while team-mate Capirossi clinched 4th place in the standings. The bike on auction is the GP3TB1, the number is recorded on the tamper-proof metal sticker on the frame. These were only applied when bikes were built up and ready to race, a testament to the bike's competition history. The bike has received a comprehensive engine and gearbox overhaul making it ready to hit the track in the hands of a privateer. Only GP3 bikes are easy to use in private handsome, after the first few years of MotoGP the bikes became a lot more technical and needed a proper race team to help prep and run them. The rarity of the bike. Only motorcycles from the first few years of MotoGP, like the GP3, can be run easily by privateers; anything more recent would require the resources of a top-flight race team. Adding to the rarity and the value is the fact that there are only 12 GP3 bikes that have survived until now. So what’s it worth? According to Bonham’s, this Desmosedici is valued at between £270,000 - £300,000, the higher end of that equates to a whopping R7,000,000. Yes, that’s seven million… The bike may head to a decent collection, but at that price it may never see a track again.
Take a look at the YouTube video from around 6 years back where you can see the Troy Bayliss GP bike when it was part of a dream garage that includes Casey Stoner's 2008 Desmosedici, Kevin Schwantz's 1995 RGV500, Carlos Checa's 2005 Desmo and a title-winning factory Ducati SBK. To make things even cooler, you can hear these iconic race bikes fire up: Dream Garage: GP Special | 44Teeth
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