Fogarty on his bike

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The Independent Online

Carl Fogarty, the world superbike champion, yesterday confirmed that he is leaving the Ducati team.

Fogarty, who finished fourth and second in the final two races of the season at Phillip Island, Australia, is believed to have signed as New Zealander Aaron Slight's team-mate in the factory Honda team.

Fogarty, from Blackburn, who had already clinched the title, lost touch with the leading pack in the first 22-lap race to finish fourth. But he came back in the second race to finish second - a tenth of a second behind the Australian Anthony Gobert.

Gobert led virtually throughout race two, except for a short period when he backed off to conserve his rear tyre and was passed by Fogarty.

"Carl actually got a bit of a gap on me and then I thought I've got to go no matter what," Gobert said. ''When Carl got in front of me he was sliding around a lot too, so I knew he was in the same boat and I could win. I just kept my head down and kept going."

Troy Corser of Australia picked up a first and a third to finish the championship in second place - the best result by an Australian since the series started in 1988.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 24