Fogarty ready for the rodeo

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The Independent Online

When the Superbike rodeo rolls into California next month, the amount of attention that the runaway championship leader, Troy Bayliss, and Ducati can expect will not amount to a tin of beans.

When the Superbike rodeo rolls into California next month, the amount of attention that the runaway championship leader, Troy Bayliss, and Ducati can expect will not amount to a tin of beans.

The biggest story in town at Leguna Seca will be the return to action of Carl Fogarty at the head of Foggy Petronas Racing, whose "world launch" at a London restaurant yesterday included a full-size replica bike made of ice which took the sculptor two weeks to make.

The two, light green FP1's looked impressive on the rostrum, but they have not yet turned a wheel in anger and Fogarty has less than five weeks to get the bikes up to race standard.

Testing will take place in Spain where the Australian Troy Corser and the Briton James Haydon will have to be lapping within half a second of the track record for Fogarty to feel that the team's debut in America will not turn into a fiasco.

The four-time Superbike world champion stressed that the remainder of the season is meant to be a bedding in period for the team, but the racer in Fogarty is eager to start picking up points immediately.

"I so want to be winning again," he said. "So far we have met all the targets, but the real test comes on race day. "

The man who during his riding career was not known as a shrinking violet says he has mellowed as a manager, but everyone still expects the paint to be peeling off the the pit walls.

Having to deliver for Petronas, the Malaysian oil giants who are backing the venture for five years, increases the pressure, but Fogarty can handle it. "I would not be involved if I didn't think we could win the championship within those five years, " he said. "It's the most beautiful bike I've ever seen. The job now is make it one of the fastest and most reliable."

The three-cylinder engine, made by a Swiss firm, is one component that Fogarty has had no control over, but he reports "no problems" with development.

The proof of a project that only began life last October will come at Leguna Seca where Fogarty's dream is to run his former employers, Ducati, out of town.

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