IN an exclusive chat with MCN Carl Fogarty has admitted that his WSB deal is risky, but he reckons it will pay off.
With the preliminary stages already well under way, Foggy believes with his name and the financial muscle of the Malaysian oil giant Petronas behind him success is only a matter of time.
The biggest hurdles facing Foggy Racing are the facts that the Sauber-engined triple won’t be ready to race until the fifth round of next year’s WSB series at Monza in Italy and the pool of riders as yet uncommitted to contracts in 2002 is a small one.
Foggy said: " The hardest thing about all this was putting the whole deal together but the second hardest thing is trying to find somebody to ride it. It might be hard to convince them to join us knowing they are going to miss the first few rounds of the championship. It will be a gamble for them and a gamble for us. But hopefully they’ll see that I wouldn’t get involved with something I thought wasn’t going to be successful.
Foggy added: " There’s a certain rider you need. You’re looking for a rider with a bit of experience who is still quite quick and, more importantly, still available at this stage. There’s not a massive list of riders and at the moment. There’s only five or six possibles who will do a good job for. "
Top class riders still available for rides next year include some of the biggest names in WSB. And most of those Foggy has slated and sometimes fought with in the past. Frankie Chili, Troy Corser and even Aaron Slight might be in the frame.
But Foggy is realistic about his ambitions: " In the first year I want us to look good, be somewhere on the pace and to be reliable and be scoring points in 10th to 15th. Anything more than that will be a massive bonus. "
The Petronas GP1 has already been track tested in its Grand Prix guise by three-times British superbike champion Niall Mackenzie.
It is not clear yet whether Mackenzie will be retained as test rider with his vast experience at setting up a bike. He has spoken to Foggy about the bike’s performance although in WSB spec it will vastly different. Whether Mackenzie is asked to test for Foggy Petronas Racing will depend on how quickly Foggy can recruit riders.