The circumstances are so remarkably similar. As the world focuses on the superb battle for the MotoGP™ world title, the World Superbike Champion arrives to join in the fun. Double World Superbike Champion Alvaro Bautista, fresh from that amazing final round in Jerez returns to MotoGP™ in Malaysia on Sunday. His appearance as a wildcard on the factory Ducati brings memories flooding back to 2006 and a certain Australian, Troy Bayliss.

After winning the World Superbike Championship, Bayliss was brought in by Ducati to replace the injured Sete Gibernau at the final round of the MotoGP™ World Championship in Valencia. The world was totally focused on the Nicky Hayden/Valentino Rossi fight for the ultimate prize, the World Championship.

Sounds familiar so far. Bautista joins the grid on Sunday while the world focuses on the fight for the title between Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) and Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing). Bayliss had plenty of MotoGP™ experience with four podium finishes for Ducati before returning to Superbikes. Bautista not only returns to a series that brought him a world title,16 Grand Prix wins and three MotoGP™ podiums but to a track that he loves, no wonder why. The Spaniard has won two Grands Prix at the sweltering Sepang circuit on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. In the same year as Bayliss’s Valencia success, Bautista won the 125cc race and the title. Two years later he won the 250cc Grand Prix by over two and a half seconds on his way to second place in the Championship.

Seventeen years ago in Valencia, history was made. Bayliss won the Grand Prix from fellow Ducati rider Loris Capirossi with Hayden crowned World Champion after finishing third. The very first Ducati one/two in the premier class did not go exactly unnoticed but Hayden’s first and only world title stole all the headlines. Bayliss returned to Superbikes to continue his domination after producing a ride that has never been replicated. He is the only current World Superbike Champion to win a MotoGP™ race. American Ben Spies is the only other rider to win a MotoGP™ race after winning the World Superbike Championship but not as the reigning Champion. The Yamaha rider won the 2011 Dutch TT in Assen two years after his Superbike Championship success. Without a doubt fellow American and Superbike Champion Colin Edwards deserved to join him. Who will ever forget the Texan crashing at the final esses in the 2006 Dutch TT with the chequered flag already fluttering in the breeze ready to celebrate his first Grand Prix win? Edwards stood on the podium 12 times and finished fourth and fifth in the World Championship.

The reverse scenario is not quite so barren but probably contains fewer riders than you would imagine. The 250cc World Champion John Kocinski won 500cc Grands Prix on Yamaha and Cagiva machinery before becoming World Superbike Champion. Four time 250cc World Champion Max Biaggi won premier class Grands Prix for Yamaha and Honda before dominating the Superbikes. Carlos Checa won a couple of 500 cc grands prix for Yamaha before switching and winning the World Superbike Championship.

So, can history repeat itself after 17 years in the 20-lap race at Sepang on Sunday? Understandably the spotlight will fall on the Bagnaia/Martin fight for the Championship with three rounds remaining. I promise you I will be paying a little more attention to Bautista than I did on Bayliss during the historic afternoon in the Spanish sunshine in 2006.