This week in...

The Queen Mum dies, two-stroke GP rac­ing sort of dies and the World Cup kicks off in Ja­pan

Motorcycle News (UK) - - News -

2002: A new era dawns

On March 30, 2002, the Queen Mother died, aged 101. The fu­neral was nine days later as the UK lost one of its most-loved fig­ures. Mean­while, a new era was dawn­ing in GPS with 990 four-strokes in­tro­duced along­side ex­ist­ing twostrokes. The smok­ers out­num­bered the big­ger bikes 12 to nine at Suzuka for the first race of the sea­son, but the writ­ing was on the wall.

There was also spec­u­la­tion over Ducati’s 998 re­place­ment. The 916 stunned the world when it was un­leashed in 1994, but it was time for Ducati to move on.

Penned by Pierre Terblanche, the 999 was re­vealed at the end of 2002 and while its styling was con­tro­ver­sial, it did go on to win three World Su­per­bike ti­tles – with Neil Hodg­son (2003), James Tose­land (2004) and Troy Bayliss (2006).

‘When I first tested the RCV, I opened the throt­tle 10% and there was too much power – I was los­ing grip’ VALENTINO ROSSI

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