With four World Superbike titles under his belt and, perhaps, a farewell year riding with Ducati, one would think that Carl Fogarty could relax. He can’t. Why? Because his legacy depends on his performance this year.
Carl Fogarty is a great rider but, let’s face it, there are plenty who will argue that he only won as many championships as he did because he rode a Ducati. His legacy as one of the greats is tainted by this in the minds of many, but this year could change it all. This year, the Honda RC51, with Colin Edwards aboard, will show everyone whether Fogarty wins because he is on a v-twin or because he is the best.
Of course, Fogarty has routinely beaten his Ducati teammates (who have also ridden v-twins), including former champion Troy Corser. But the rest of the factory bikes have been at a competitive disadvantage to the Ducati. Even Honda admits this now — thus, the reason for building the RC51.
In 1996, Fogarty rode the v-4 RC45 Honda and failed to win the championship. John Kocinski won the championship the following year on that same RC45. Fogarty had excuses as to why he didn’t win those two years, but the fact of the matter is that ’96 and ’97 only fueled the argument that Fogarty couldn’t win without a “better bike” than the competition rode.
So the 2000 season is important to Fogarty. Most of his fans already believe that Fogarty is one of the all time greats in World Championship racing, but 2000 could potentially make that feeling nearly unanimous.