Hislop rejects Sauber WSB offer

Published: 18 November 2001

STEVE HISLOP has turned down an offer to ride Sauber’s triple in WSB next year – though Carl Fogarty is likely to be involved.

The Scot wants to concentrate on winning the British title that evaded him this year.

Hislop, 39, said: " If the offer had been to do WSB on a factory Ducati, I would have jumped at the chance. But the thought of travelling the world with a bike that is unproven does not appeal.

" The dream job for me when I finish racing is to be a development rider for a top team, but the Sauber offer has come a year or two early because I still feel I can win the British title. "

Hislop will continue racing in BSB with Paul Bird’s team, which has just ordered two 2002-spec 998Rs with the Testastretta engine.

But Hislop may still test the Sauber next year. He added: " Paul has said that if Sauber wants me to help out with development during next season, he won’t stand in my way – providing any testing doesn’t get in the way of my British title campaign. "

There is still nothing official from Sauber about its plans for next year following news last week it would join WSB.

Everyone involved is sworn to secrecy via a confidentiality contract. And that includes Foggy, who is ready to dissolve his long-standing relationship with Ducati. An announcement from the Bologna factory is expected at any moment.

He is likely to act as a figurehead for the team, which will be run by former Red Bull Ducati manager Nigel Bosworth. He quit that squad last week. Niall Mackenzie has already been signed as a test rider and will continue development in 2002.

All Ducati would say was: " It’s a problem we are looking into at the moment and we will make an announcement very shortly. "

Foggy simply added: " No comment. "

The bike was developed for next year’s new MotoGP class, when four-strokes will take on existing two-strokes. But series bosses Dorna failed to grant the Swiss firm a place on the grid.

Official news on Sauber’s plans are expected within weeks. We understand the firm has a five-year plan starting in 2002 which includes two years in WSB before a move to the new GP class in 2004.

That means Sauber will need to homologate its triple for WSB by building 150 machines – 75 of which have to be ready for inspection by January.