3: Doug Polen, USA: 27 race wins, champion 1991, 1992
Doug slips to third thanks to the superiority of his Fast by Ferracci Ducati 888 (it had a 25 kilo weight advantage over the fours) but let’s not forget that he also took Suzuki’s first win in 1989 on an unfancied GSX-R750, in Japan where he spent much of his early career. His record in WSB says: 27 race wins, 17 pole positions and the 1991 and 1992 championships. Doug went back home to the USA in 1993, then returned to ride the new Honda RC45 in 1994 in WSB, but he was overshadowed by Slight and didn’t appear in 1995, where his ride was taken by Simon Crafar in Rumi colours. Polen would later take the World Endurance title for Suzuki in 1997 and (ironically) take the same title on the RC45 a year later. Doug was always smooth, polished and devastatingly fast.
Words: Bertie Simmonds Photos: Mortons Archive