Jean-Michel Bayle, arguably the smoothest rider to ever set foot on a motocross bike, is said to be making a comeback in motocross racing. Bayle, who has won a combined total of 25 events in AMA professional racing, was seen earlier in the year coaching fellow Frenchman Sebastien Tortelli.Now, he’s back at the track, but not as a coach. Bayle is a full-time R&D rider for Suzuki, and is also considering doing some National racing this year. We sat down with the ex-champ to see just how serious he is about making a comeback to racing.[IMAGE 1]
TWMX: It’s great to see you back at the motocross track. Are the rumors true? Are you here to prepare for a return to AMA National racing?
Bayle: Well, I am doing testing for Suzuki right now, and that is my main concern. We might race Glen Helen if everything goes okay, but I’m not quite sure yet.
TWMX: So you might do some Nationals?
Bayle: Again, my main job is testing for Suzuki, but if I want to race Nationals, I will be able to race with the support of Suzuki. It’s just not a 100% sure thing right now.
TWMX: Will your R&D work keep you in the States, or will you be travelling around the world testing?
Bayle: No, I will stay in the States, mostly in California. I’m sure that you will be seeing alot of me at local tracks in the months to come!
TWMX: So how do you feel to be back on a bike?Bayle: I feel really good, actually. The bikes haven’t changed that much since my days of full-time racing; everything on the bike is just slightly improved, so it feels great to be riding again.
TWMX: When you quit racing motocross to pursue a road racing career, did you completely stop riding or were you still doing some motos?
Bayle: Well, as you know, I quit racing MX so I could race street bikes, and when I did that, I pretty much just quit the whole sport. I wasn’t riding any motos. I’ve been riding for about two or three months again now, so I’m starting to feel pretty good again.[IMAGE 2]
TWMX: Are you done road racing, or will you still do some events on the pavement?
Bayle: No, I’m completely done road racing. The 500cc Grand Prix class is very difficult, and I crashed alot and had some injuries. When racing at that level, you have to be 110% into it or it’s not even worth doing. It’s much different than motocross; you have to be even more committed on the road race circuit.
TWMX: So bottom line, Jean-Michel, will we see you on the starting line at Glen Helen?
Bayle: I will tell you in a couple of weeks! (Laughs) If I continue to feel good and am riding at a competitive pace, than you will see me race. After that, I don’t know if I will do more Nationals or not. We just have to wait and see.