I had one back in’t day: Carl Fog­a­rty

Motorcycle Monthly - - Ducati 916 -

World Su­per­bike Cham­pion 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999; 916, 996, 998 Corsa

an 888 Corsa) and next ride was round one of the WSB at Don­ing­ton. I won both races first time out, I was the only per­son who was sur­prised – be­cause it didn’t suit my style of rid­ing. I couldn’t get it to do what I wanted and it meant I wasn’t get­ting any cor­ner speed. It felt fast but it was ner­vous. I was lead­ing the WSB cham­pi­onship for the first time though! Then I crashed it in prac­tice at Hock­en­heim, break­ing my wrist. I came back to win another dou­ble at Al­bacete, but I still didn’t like the bike.

“Af­ter that we went test­ing at Mugello and it wasn’t good, it would not hold a line, I couldn’t get it to change di­rec­tion. Ca­giva had their test rider there – Doug Chan­dler – and on another 916 he was lap­ping quicker than me, he was do­ing 1:57sec. It was do­ing my head in. Then on the last day they said I could ride the bike he was rid­ing – a de­vel­op­ment bike. The dif­fer­ence was im­me­di­ate – I was like, oh my god, this is in­cred­i­ble. They’d length­ened the swingarm and put the rake out, it was spot on and im­me­di­ately I was able to drop to a 1:55 – and that pushed Doug’s nose out! I’d said give me a bike that does what I want in the corners and I’ll do the rest. I was be­ing cocky, maybe, but I had that much belief in my­self – and the bike.

“We still had some is­sues that year, with crankcases fail­ing, which meant DNFs. I re­mem­ber lead­ing at Sen­tul by a good eight sec­onds when the bike broke down, giv­ing Jim Whitham his one and only win in WSB (on another 916) – he wouldn’t have had that with­out me pulling out, I al­ways rib him about that one!

“I went back to Honda in 1996 and rode the RC45. That was a quick bike but it strug­gled for back-end grip mid-cor­ner, it would just slide out from un­der you. And I wasn’t happy with the Honda team set-up, I felt I was just a num­ber. Du­cati had felt like my team, they treated you like fam­ily, and at the end of the year I was very happy to go back. When I went back I could ap­pre­ci­ate again what the 916 was do­ing, it was a fan­tas­tic bike, so smooth on the power, with so much torque.

“I have my 1998 sea­son-win­ning bike in my hall­way at home. It’s the only one of the four WSB ti­tle bikes I have – why I didn’t think to have a clause say­ing I’d keep my bike if I won for the other years I don’t know. I kick my­self now.

“That bike, even now, looks so in­cred­i­ble, it still looks just like a mod­ern race bike, not some­thing that is now 21 years old. “I love it and I bow down to it ev­ery morn­ing – af­ter all, it paid for my house!”

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