Giancarlo Falappa (Ducati) – 1994 was to be the last season for the Italian warhorse, when after 3 rounds of the World Championship he had only luckily survived for the second time in his career with serious injuries (© WorldSBK).

Part 13 of 1994 – the 7th year of the WorldSBK

Last year, the world championship was only decided in the penultimate race. Despite 11 wins this season by Carl Fogarty versus 5 by Scott Russell, the American became world champion. Foggy failed to cross the finish line five times, while the Kawasaki rider only crashed once and retired at Estoril due to a faulty clutch. But at this point he was already established as world champion, because the Englishman had already made his 5th fall before that. Now, of course, he really wanted to know and Fogarty, together with the restructured Ducati factory team, launched an attack on the title. An old friend, Doug Polen, returned to the paddock. The American had stayed at home as a two-time world champion in 1991 and 1992 and won the AMA Superbike championship.

The excerpt from Donington’s Entry List. In addition to Doug Poland’s return, the season brought numerous innovations. Among other things, Aaron Slight had switched from Kawasaki to Castrol Honda and after 6 years at Yamaha, Fabrizio Pirovano was now on a Ducati. Long-time Yamaha rider Terry Rymer was also new on a Kawasaki. A total of 58 pilots had registered for the World Cup opener in Donington Park. The second man from the bottom of this excerpt was also interesting, we soon heard more from him. Incidentally, the nationality of Stéphane Mertens was incorrectly listed here, he is definitely Belgian. Most of the lists circulating on the net today are wrong on several points, which unfortunately too often applies to wiki. But how can it be any other than in today’s journalism, which juggles far too often with half-truths and falsehoods.

WorldSBK Calendar 1994 with a novelty

For the first time there was a year with two races on the same track. For this, Donington Park was chosen as the restaurant for the first ever race in the Superbike World Championship. It was also new that the season only started in May. For the first 6 WorldSBK years since 1988, the Superbike year started in March or April. Donington, Hockenheim, the Österreich-Ring and Sugo were the 4 routes that have been on the calendar since the beginning. After a break in the previous year, Australia also returned and this time Indonesia came to Malaysia for the first time with Sentul. Compared to the previous year, Anderstorp in Sweden, Brno in the Czech Republic and Estoril (Portugal) were no longer there. In addition, Monza was replaced by Mugello as the second race in Italy. It has been the season with the fewest stops since 1989, after the World Championship was held over 13 rounds from 1990 onwards.

While the best WorldSBK riders contested their season opener in England, a certain Troy Corser from Australia and a Texan named Colin Edwards competed in the national Superbike Championship in the USA. The two should soon cause an uproar in the WSBK.

Season opener in Donington

The first race and Foggy’s perfect start
At the first World Championship round of the season, Vice World Champion Carl Fogarty struck the factory Ducati and won the home race. Behind them followed Aaron Slight (new on Castrol Honda), Fabrizio Pirovano (Team Ducati Tardozzi), the reigning world champion Scott Russell (Kawasaki) and Foggy’s team-mate Giancarlo Falappa. Former world champion Doug Polen on his Castrol Honda was ninth behind Simon Crafar (Rumi Honda), Piergiorgio Bontempi (Kawasaki Italy Bertocchi) and Brian Morrison (Rumi Honda).

The program for the first event of the 1994 Superbike World Championship was £3 at the time.

The Belgian with a botched start to the season and a new Australian
His former World Championship opponent Stéphane Mertens landed even further back on the Red Devils Ducati with P18. The Australian Troy Corser drove for the former World Champion team of Doug Polen, Fast by Ferracci Ducati and crashed 2 laps before the end. In the seventh he had set the fastest lap with 1:35.520. He had already drawn attention to himself two years ago in Australia and New Zealand, especially when he achieved two top ten results at the season finale in Manfeild. We should hear a lot from him later. In the 1994 season, however, he still concentrated on the AMA Superbike Championship and only drove 4 laps in the WSBK.

Honda RVF 750 RC45 – the new weapon of the world’s largest manufacturer in the fight for the Superbike World Championship crown celebrated its premiere in the 1994 season. The New Zealander Aaron Slight made a perfect start with first place in the first race of the season, he was only 1.33 seconds short of the opening win (© WorldSBK).

The second run at Donington Park
After missing the podium in race one, the reigning world champion Scott Russell struck back and won race 2 ahead of the two Ducati drivers Fogarty and Troy Corser. 4th place went to Falappa ahead of Crafar, Morrison, Polen and Mauro Lucchiari. Only 19 drivers saw the finish in the second race. In addition to several falls, there were also numerous failures with braking problems. In addition, Fabrizio Pirovano dropped out with engine problems on his Ducati. Aaron Slight and the Austrian Andy Meklau were disqualified for using illegal fuel. The three Englishmen Terry Rymer, Ray Stringer and Jamie Whitham were absent due to injuries.

Carl Fogarty on the new Ducati 916 R of the works team “Ducati Corse Virginio Ferrari” – the overall winner of the first round of the World Championship in Donington Park. The Englishman traveled to the second event in Germany as a World Cup leader (© WorldSBK).

Second round of the World Championship at the Hockenheimring

For Carl Fogarty, the second round of the World Championship got off to a similar start to a year ago when he was injured in a fall in the first run at Brands Hatch. This time the Englishman had already crashed during training and this time was not on the starting grid right from the start. In his absence, Scott Russell won ahead of Aaron Slight and the two Kawasaki riders Terry Rymer (GBR) and Adrien Morillas (France). Doug Polen finished fifth ahead of the best Ducati driven by Frenchman Jean-Yves Mounier, New Zealander Simon Crafar (Honda) and Swiss Edwin Weibel (Ducati). Rob Phillis took ninth place in front of the second Swiss Urs Kellenberger (Yamaha). The Australian Kawasaki rider had finished third in the World Championship two years earlier and was only supposed to finish in the points twice in 1994.

From the Hockenheim program booklet: The schedule with then two races on Sunday, they since the first year of the WSBK in 1988. The 1st run was only held on Saturday from 2016 and in 2019 the Superpole sprint race usually came on Sunday morning at 11 o’clock in the morning.
The official program for the German run at the Hockenheimring in 1994 cost 5 DM (about 2 Euro).

The second run of Hockenheim
Russell also won the second race, making him the overall winner of the second round of the championship. This time Fabrizio Pirovano put a Ducati on the podium ahead of Doug Polen on a Honda. Ducati works rider Falappa was fourth ahead of Keiichi Kitagawa on Kawasaki and Terry Rymer. The German Udo Mark made it into the top ten in his home race with 9th place on his Ducati. Historically, this Sunday was primarily the first top 5 result for a Japanese in the Superbike World Championship on European soil. The Belgian Mertens was unlucky again and retired with engine failure on his Ducati.

Before the 1st WSBK race, the Yamaha-Suzuki-Supercup was started in Hockenheim and note the interesting name with the starting number 28. This was none other than the later Moto3 and Moto2 team boss Stefan Kiefer, who was in Sepang on October 27, 2017, died of a heart attack in a hotel room.
Aaron Slight (Honda RVF 750 RC45) – the season started very well with two 2nd places on the new Honda. But the Kiwi lost important points in Donington in the second race due to a disqualification and again in the second race in Germany through a fall in the eighth round (© WorldSBK).
The Hockenheim podium after the 2nd run with Fabrizio Pirovano (P2, Ducati), winner Scott Russell (Kawasaki) and third-placed Honda driver Doug Polen (© WorldSBK).

The third round in Misano

At that time, the Autodromo di Santa Monica, as it was called back then, was still driven in a counterclockwise direction. After the accident of 500cc world champion Wayne Rainey last year and his paraplegia, the route was no longer on the GP calendar. The Superbike World Championship continued here and later this course was to be rebuilt and from then on it was driven clockwise. MotoGP should not return to Misano until 2007.

The first run with the fourth victory in a row for the reigning world champion
Scott Russell was definitely in top form and was able to triumph in the fourth race in a row. With him on the podium, Falappa as local hero and Aaron Slight made it. Behind them, Stéphane Mertens achieved the first countable result of the season with P4, followed by the two Italians Mauro Lucchiari and Valerio Destefanis (all on Ducati). The top ten were completed by the Kiwi Simon Crafar, Gianmaria Liverani (both Honda), Massimo Meregalli (Yamaha) and the Austrian Andy Meklau on Ducati. A few decades later, Meregalli was to become much better known as a manager in the Yamaha works team, including Valentino Rossi as a driver, because in his first career as a pilot.

Ducati factory rider Giancarlo Falappa – also called “the Lion of Jesi” by his compatriots (after his place of origin near Ancona). The Italian celebrated the 1st podium of the season with 2nd place in the first race (© WorldSBK).

The second race and Falappa’s last triumph
Nobody could have guessed at the time that the victory of the Italian daredevil near his home country would be his last. The “Ducati Corse Virginio Ferrari” factory driver and his compatriots celebrated his triumph exuberantly, but it was to be his last race. Scott Russell had to admit defeat for the first time after 4 victories in a row by the minute of 0.168 seconds. Third place went to Mauro Lucchiari, ahead of Aaron Slight and Carl Fogarty. For the first time since Donington, the Englishman had scored points and had dropped to third place in the World Championship with 48 points. Russell was leading with 110 points ahead of Slight with 62 points.

Giancarlo Falappa (Ducati 916R) – the still unforgotten warhorse celebrated the last victory of his career on May 29, 1994 (© WorldSBK).

World Championship round 4 in Albacete

Worrying reports reached the public even before the race weekend. Giancarlo Falappa had a terrible highsider during Ducati’s private test drives in Albacete, after which he landed on his head from a high flight. Allegedly a technical defect in the new electronic circuit was the cause of his violent crash. The Italian was then in mortal danger for a long time and was in a coma for 33 days. After that, a comeback was out of the question. On the other hand, Falappa was happy to have survived, in addition to the one in Albacete, his terrible crash in training on the Österreich-Ring three years earlier with a total of 27 broken bones.

Giancarlo Falappa – il leone di Jesi. 1989 World Championship rank 6, 1990 only eleventh with serious injuries and an early end of the season. Then he returned in 1991 with ninth place, fourth in the 1992 World Cup and fifth in 1993, until his terrible accident in Albacete in 1994 put an early end to his career (© WorldSBK).

The first run and the end of Russell’s winning streak
The world championship leader should not see the checkered flag for the first time this season. Immediately after the start, Carl Fogarty sought his salvation in flight. Shortly after Piergiorgio Bontempi was Scott Russell in 3rd place and in the third lap he had already caught the Italian with the fastest time to date. But the American fell shortly after half of the race while trying to catch up with Foggy. Furious, he tossed his gloves into the tire wall and stomped off as his greatest challenger in the title race drove to an undisputed victory. Aaron Slight came in second ahead of Jamie Whitham (Ducati). Behind them, Bontempi crossed the finish line in front of Terry Rymer, Doug Polen and Andreas Meklau. Below is the complete list of results.

The second race of Albacete
Scott Russell is unlikely to have particularly good memories of the Spanish town and its circuit. This is especially true for his short stay in 1994, because in the second run he was anything but lucky. He was in the lead ahead of his Muzzy Kawasaki team-mate Aaron Slight from last year when the American took off in a right-hand turn in his Honda, ending the second race in a row in the gravel. Carl Fogarty later managed to get past Slight. Third place went to Jamie Whitham in front of his Ducati brand colleague Andreas Meklau and the two Kawasaki riders Rymer and Bontempi. The top ten were completed by former world champion Doug Polen on Honda, Carlos Cardús (Ducati), Adrien Morillas (Kawasaki) and Stéphane Mertens (Ducati).

World Championship round 5 in Spielberg

Despite a double mishap in Albacete, Russell arrived in Styria as World Championship leader. Since Fogarty even had to cope with three failures, he was in third place in the interim World Cup rankings after the fourth round. At that time, the American was leading with 110 points ahead of Slight (96), Fogarty (88), the seriously injured Falappa (74) and ex-world champion Polen (66).

Scott Russell (Kawasaki ZXR-750) – the reigning world champion traveled as world championship leader to Austria (© WorldSBK).

The first race in Austria
In sunny weather there was a very close race at the front. In the end, Foggy prevailed again and was able to easily set himself apart from his pursuers until the finish line. Behind them there was a wafer-thin decision for second place, which local hero Andy Meklau saw as the winner ahead of Doug Polen, Aaron Slight and Stéphane Mertens. The four fighters were within 0.8 seconds. Simon Crafar arrived at P6 ahead of Jamie Whitham. A dispute broke out among a total of seven drivers for 8th place. Fabrizio Pirovano was ahead of the game and the reigning world champion was only 14th behind the group. The following is the results sheet from the 1st race.

The second race on the Österreich-Ring
On today’s unfortunately unfavorably defaced Red Bull Ring, Carl Fogarty repeated his showpiece from the first run and also won the second race. Meklau finished second again, this time ahead of Doug Polen on the best Honda. Behind him again followed his Castrol Honda team-mate Slight in front of Mertens, Crafar and Paolo Casoli on the best Yamaha. Jochen Schmid from Germany was able to assert himself in 8th place behind the Italian and was able to leave his Kawasaki brand colleague Bontempi behind. Russell crossed the finish line in P12 behind his brand colleague Rymer and ahead of Rob Phillis and lost more points to winner Fogarty, who had now taken the championship lead ahead of him and Slight.

Aaron Slight ahead of Doug Polen (both Castrol Honda) – the two teammates fought twice for the podium at the Österreich-Ring and both times the former world champion from 1991 and 1992 from the USA had a nose in front of the Kiwi (© WorldSBK).

The 6th round in Indonesia

After two races each in Shah Alam (1990 and 1991) and Johor Bahru (1992 and 1993) in Malaysia, this time it was Sentul’s turn in Indonesia. The second half of the 1990s also hosted the motorcycle world championship on the course near the city of Bogor. The first race on the 3.965 km long track saw Jamie Whitham on the Ducati as the winner. It was the first and only triumph in the Englishman’s career. Second place went to Aaron Slight ahead of Scott Russell on the best Kawasaki. Doug Polen, Simon Crafar (both Honda), Andreas Meklau (Ducati) followed on P4, followed by the two Kawasakis of Adrien Morillas (France) and Terry Rymer (GBR). Carl Fogarty had set the fastest lap with 1: 28.406 in the 7th, but dropped out 12 laps later with an engine failure.

Jamie Whitham on the Moto Cinelli Ducati 916 R Desmoquattro – the Englishman was able to impress several times in the best year of his career. He put the crown on it in the 1994 season with the victory in Sentul (© WorldSBK).

The second run
This time Carl Fogarty struck back after his bad luck in the first race. This time the Englishman crossed the finish line two seconds ahead of Aaron Slight and Scott Russell, his toughest opponent from last year, followed on P3. As defending champion, the US-American was the man to beat in the 1994 title fight and Foggy was determined to finally do it at the second attempt. But even Slight was not to be underestimated and even led the World Championship for the first time after Sentul, 8 points ahead of Fogarty and 10 ahead of Russell, before moving on to Japan. Whitham was third this time in front of Andy Meklau, Doug Polen and Terry Rymer. Only 18 drivers had traveled to Indonesia and 17 of them saw the checkered flag this time.

The situation in the World Championship after 6 of 11 rounds

The first three drivers were very close together. After the reigning world champion Scott Russell was still clearly in the lead up to round 3, his lead after Spain and Austria melted together. With Doug Poland on the second best Honda, the two-time world champion from 1991 and 1992 was also still within reach to fight for the title. The Austrian Meklau and Kiwi Simon Crafar also had a chance for the title, while the two Englishmen Jamie Whitham and Terry Rymer had a lot of catching up to do in the remaining 5 laps. Giancarlo Falappa, on the other hand, only returned to the paddock as a visitor after a very good start to the season due to his serious accident during tests in Almeria.

The second half of the season: