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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 02-28-2006, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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WSBK: Foggy excited by team unknowns, 'can win in 2007'.

Far from being worried about his future, following the announcement that Petronas will withdraw from World Superbikes at the end of this season, Foggy Petronas Racing team manager Carl Fogarty is instead "excited by the unknowns" - and expects to "easily" win races in 2007 if his team secures established WSBK machinery.

"I've known for some time to be honest, quite a long while - the contract runs out at the end of this year and really, if you think about it, they don't make motorcycles so why would you be in World Superbikes?" Carl told Radio, when asked about the Petronas decision. "That was the plan originally, for (Petronas) to become a manufacturer and in year five be making sort of 5000 road bikes. That hasn't happened at all and I knew for a while that they were going to stop this year, so that was no surprise. The contract has run its time."

But how does Foggy feel about it?

"Umm... I don't know really, that's a good question, it wasn't a surprise so it wasn't a 'feel' sort of thing," replied the Briton. "I've got a year to run so I'm getting my head into that - obviously giving 100% to Petronas and the guys and riders for this season - and at the same time it's kind of exciting, not knowing what's going to happen in 2007. I'm working in the background now - talking to manufacturers, trying to find a potential sponsor and everything.

"It's quite exciting really, the unknown, it's a bit risky but I guess I kinda like that!" smiled the all time most winning WSBK rider.

Rumours of Foggy's team switching to MotoGP have run off and on for the past few seasons - with Carl telling as recently as Christmas that he'd "love" to move if a competitive opportunity presented itself.

The end of the Petronas link would seem the ideal time for such a fresh start - providing vital manufacturer support and sponsorship could be found - but Foggy seems to have his sights set more on staying in the increasing popular production based series, although he is ruling nothing out.

"I've absolutely no idea (where I'll be next year)," he said. "Ideally I'd like to stay here, but you consider all options at this stage - MotoGP, British Superbikes - the announcement was only made a few days ago so we'll just see what sort of feedback we get over the next few weeks and then we'll draw up a plan of people to approach and all the manufacturers."

When pressed specifically about MotoGP, he repeated: "To be honest I'm happy here - I know it inside out; I know exactly what it takes to win here and what bikes can win here. So I'd like to stay here, but wouldn't close the door on other opportunities."

Among the highlights of the ambitious Petronas project - which has seen the FP1 race for three seasons in World Superbikes, following a year of design and development away from the racetrack - are two podium finishes (with Chris Walker and the Troy Corser) and two pole positions (both Corser) in 2004, when Petronas also finished third in the manufacturers' standings.

However, the fiercely competitive Fogarty - who won 59 times as a rider - has been unable to stand on the top step of the podium even once as a team owner, while his riders have consistently complained that a lack of engine performance has been the main obstacle preventing them challenging for victory.

That complaint isn't a surprise since the FP1 has a 100cc engine capacity disadvantage compared with its rivals, caused by rule changes introduced after the bike was homologated. The only way in which the Foggy's FP1 could have increased its engine size to match its rivals was if the production version of the bike (which few have actually seen sold) was also modified to 1000cc and re-homologated.

But how does Carl judge his team's success?

"It was always going to be very difficult, as everyone knows. I think people in general, even myself, would see it as quite successful," mused Foggy, who is fielding Steve Martin and rookie Craig Jones this season. "The only thing that's made it (look) not that successful has been having Carl Fogarty involved, and me being such a strong character - everyone associates me with always wanting to win - and because we haven't won people say 'ahhh! he's kinda failed', but I don't think so.

"I'll probably be under more pressure next year if I run Hondas, Suzukis, Kawasakis or whatever. If I don't win then - which I think I will, and I will easily, whatever manufacturer we're with - then there will be pressure. But this was a brand new bike, created from a blank piece of paper only five years ago.

"We've achieved a lot, but yeah, because I haven't won and people knowing me will maybe see that as a bit of a failure. I do as well in a way, more for Petronas - I'd love to win a race for them - it could still happen this year, but it'll be difficult with the speed disadvantage.

"I don't think many people could create a bike from nothing and score points regularly in World Superbikes - and have podiums and pole positions - I think that in itself is a big achievement."

Finally, after discussing the competitive 2006 WSBK grid - which contains the likes of reigning champion Corser, plus the returning Troy Bayliss and former MotoGP star Alex Barros - Foggy was asked if he'd like to be back out on track...

"Oh yeah! It'd be easy!" replied 'Kind Carl' with typical confidence. "I'd love to be out there - the head says yes still, but the body says no."


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