IN-DEPTH WITH TROY CORSER – PART 1: Toprak and Haga “similar”; aims to help more Australians

Three rounds down and the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is well and truly alive, although a famous name from the past popped into Assen, with Troy Corser being one of them. The double World Champion discussed helping more Australian riders on their path to success, reflected on his own career and compared one current star to an old rival from days gone by.

A NEW GENERATION OF AUSTRALIAN TALENT: why is Troy Corser back in the WorldSBK paddock?

Starting with an obvious topic of why exactly Corser is in WorldSBK environment once again, he stated his work with Cameron Swain in the FIM Yamaha R3 bLU cRU World Cup: “The main reason I am here is to help Cam Swain in the R3 Cup. He won the championship in Australia last year and after his wildcard at Portimao, he got some good results and some good contacts and they asked him to come back. I’m hoping to do most of the races if I can but it’s up to the family, as usually his dad comes along with him. He’s an ex-rider himself as well but I’ve asked if I can come to give some more professional help at the track and so far, it’s working well.”


Pressure or motivation? The Australian reflects on his steep learning curve with a Champion teammate next to him: “There were positives and negatives actually as I knew that I had the same material as Carl and the factory behind me; then, I had the pressure that I wanted to be as good as my teammate who is the Champion, so you have to be at the top. I learnt a lot from those early days and it’s always nice to have a fast, competitive teammate. You can work off of each other; back then, we didn’t work with each other too much but now teams are starting to do that more to develop the bike – BMW are a perfect example. Racing is a lot different now compared to the 1990s.”

THE FIRST TITLE IN 1996: “It was great to win at home in Australia”

With Carl Fogarty leaving Ducati for Honda in 1996, Corser was looking to go one better than his 1995 campaign: “I guess I was also the #1 rider for Ducati in 1996 because Carl won it 1995 and I was second but he’d moved away, so I was the highest Ducati rider from the year before. Although we were a ‘satellite’ team, we were the ones who were going to get results for them so they gave us extra help and the attention was focused to us a little. We actually had Claudio Domenicali working with us closely as an engineer at the time! He could see that we had potential, also Davide Tardozzi, so we had the full package. It was also my second year and I knew all the tracks so it was the year to win it and we did it.

“If Aaron had finished in front of Anthony then the points would have been different in the last race. You never know what could happen in racing; perhaps the bird would have missed me in the second race and it was just by chance that it hit me. When I threw it, it could have hit Colin Edwards and could’ve have crashed or whatever. It’s all part of racing, you take it on the chin but it was great to win at home in Australia in front of all the family and friends.”


“Me and Nori had lots of close races actually, as teammates and competitors,” started Corser, who shared the garage with Haga in 2007 and 2008 at Yamaha, after many years going head-to-head, particularly in Corser’s early Ducati years. “That’s how racing was back then. We respected each other anyway and it was never an intentional shove off the track or crash into somebody. In our day, we’d have three fast laps at the start, a steady part in the middle and then a fast end to the race. Now it’s fast from the first lap to the end! We had great times in racing back then but now, it’s just a different level.”

A rivalry that spanned three decades of WorldSBK, Corser reminisced about old foe ‘Nitro Nori’ Haga: “My toughest competitor and teammate was Haga. It wasn’t that we didn’t get on but because the bikes were so close, we raced quite close – as in he was touching my tyres from behind! You always felt safer when you could see Nori in front of you than when you couldn’t work out where he is. Then you’d feel a nudge and you’d be like, ‘ahh, there he is behind you’! Frankie Chili was also tough on the track. He was great off the track but when the visor went down, he was a different rider. Carl was tough too but everyone was a rival back then! At the same time, we’d all meet up and have a beer at a hospitality party and if they won, you’d have a beer with them and if you won, they’d come to you. There were so many different characters back then and there still is now!”

MODERN DAY VERSION: “I’d put Toprak and Nori as very similar… it comes from pure rider ability”

Speaking about whether a hard-charging Haga’s style can be compared to Toprak Razgatlioglu’s (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) tenacity, he assessed of similarities: “Toprak’s bike control allows him to do what he does, whereas with Nori, although he looked out of control, it wasn’t often that he crashed and he was within his limit. I think he was on the limit sooner than most of us and perhaps he had to ride a bit more like that because of the bike or the tyre. I’d put Toprak and Nori as very similar but a lot of it comes from pure rider ability and natural talent. Both came out of the blue from nowhere in a way and then they were at the front.”

TO THE FUTURE: “I’d like to bring on Australian riders”

“I’m enjoying working with younger riders, passing on my knowledge and experience on the bike but also mentally and preparation, said Corser. “Unless you’ve done what I’ve done, you can’t do it. I have the connections with all the manufacturers in the paddock so having that toolbox to work with, I’d like to bring on Australian riders. It’s shortcutting the learning period and if you learn from the best, then you’ll get the information sooner. You want to give them the right advice and the right help.”

CAREER REGRETS: “I should’ve stayed in WorldSBK; perhaps the Sugo crash wouldn’t have happened”

Speaking of whether or not he had any regrets in his career, there were a couple: “I only have two: one was when I crashed at Sugo in Warm Up in 1998 and I regret that I wasn’t more experienced then and had just picked the bike up and ran off the track. I was still quite young then and I panicked a bit and then ruptured my spleen. I was so young and hungry but then I suffered the consequences. The other one is moving from WorldSBK to 500cc in 1997. I should have stayed in WorldSBK and if I had, perhaps the Sugo crash wouldn’t have happened.”

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