IN-DEPTH WITH TROY CORSER – PART 2: “The racing is awesome… the grandstands are packed”

The 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship fires back into racing action soon after a break from Assen, with the Misano World Circuit “Marco SimoncellI” in Italy hosting Round 4. At Assen, we caught up with double World Champion Troy Corser and after speaking largely about his own career in Part 1, evaluates the grid as it stands now and some of the biggest stories of the year.


Speaking about the current grid in WorldSBK, the double World Champion started with revelation of the season Nicolo Bulega ( Racing – Ducati) and his level: “It’s not a surprise for me! I’ve watched him for a few years now and to come off a WorldSSP bike onto a Superbike, the gap is a lot less now. He’s just learning to ride with a bit more power but I did expect him to just jump straight in and be fast but behind Bautista, not in front like he has been! He’s a young kid and takes that one tenth more risk whereas Alvaro now a little bit older on that racing side. As I know myself, when you get older, you don’t take that one tenth more risk because you’ve got kids at home and he’s already a World Champion and all that stuff. It’s good to have the World Champions against the kids because back in our day, it was just one kid and one World Champion. Bulega has moved into a team that has won, that he knows and any good rider, give them enough time, will get better and good, the same as what happened with myself against Carl.”

It’s a similar story to the three years (1995, 1998 and 1999) that Corser shared the box with Carl Fogarty: “When you start beating a World Champion, the confidence level goes up and the team trust goes up with your feedback, as you’re getting results, whereas generally, the #1 rider is the leader of development. I was doing that already when I came in 1995 with the 916. The results speak more than actions and you’re only as good as your last ride.”

IANNONE AND GARDNER: two stars to keep an eye on in 2024

As far as other riders go, podium finishers Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) and Remy Gardner (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) have been at the sharp end throughout the opening three rounds: “I always rated him and after what happened, it’s probably made him hungrier. He’s a very talented rider. For Remy, expect better results from him as now, he knows the tracks and understands the bike a lot better. Massimo Neri, his electronics guy, was my guy back in the day. I know he’s got good people around him and he’s a good rider. I’m expecting some good results from him this year.”

BMW’S DEVELOPMENT TO TITLE CONTENDERS: Toprak working the magic, “it’s in the hands of the riders”

With Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) just six points adrift of the Championship lead, Corser spoke of BMW’s rise throughout the years: “When I first went there, we were getting a lot of assistance from non-motorcycle engineers. The project from F1 and the engine, it was slightly more car oriented. Over time, they’ve got more people from the motorcycle industry involved to understand what the rider needs. Chassis, connection, throttle and power delivery; the mechanical grip of the bike looks different to me and that was something that we were always chasing, even back in my day. We had to have a lot electronics which gave us less power but mechanically, their current bike is better with the tyres so they don’t perhaps need so much electronic input and it’s more in the hands of the riders which is what you want. Toprak is a perfect example of that.”

“THE RACING IS AWESOME” – riders changing teams, hardcore fans and grandstands full ‘like the old days’

“I think the racing is awesome!” began Corser, who enjoyed the Assen spectacle. “Riders changing colours suchas Jonny from green to blue, Toprak moving out too which has been a nice change, so it’s not the same as before. It’s a good shuffle and it’s created a lot of interest and brought the Championship up too. It shows that the riders can jump about and not just stay on one manufacturer for their whole career which was how it was back when I joined. Carl was always Ducati, Edwards on Honda, Nori on Yamaha – I was one of the few to jump around. So, that’s coming back now and now, fans are following the riders and not the brands. It’s about liking characters.

“In WorldSBK, you get more families and hardcore fans; I couldn’t believe how busy it was at Assen on Saturday. The grandstands are packed and to turn around and hear the noise and the atmosphere, was like being back in my day! WorldSBK is back now; the Paddock Show, the fan areas, the connection with the riders and it’s closer to the fans and get access.”

TOP 3, NO BAUTISTA: “I’m not sure about the order”

 “I’ll say my top three prediction but I’m not sure about order: Rea, Toprak and I’d like to say Bulega,” said a bold Corser, leaving out current Championship leader Bautista – although this was before Bautista won the Superpole Race win and Race 2 podium. “Jonny’s got something different to work with now; different team, personnel etc. I know the people who he’s working with who he’ll never have had access to work with before and they’re skilled. They’ve been waiting for someone to come in with new information. Maybe the problem isn’t what it used to be for the team to work on, it’s a different problem, so the picture opens up. With BMW, Toprak’s talking about stuff that the others didn’t even mention or think about. To do that, you get a lot of satisfaction out of being able to fix it and find a direction.”

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