1995: The first half of the 8th Superbike World Championship season
After the thinnest calendar since 1989 with only 11 events in the previous year, 12 stations were in the program again this time. The fact that the season didn’t take place until May was nothing new, but it was the first time it started in Germany. This time there were no new routes in the calendar and since the premiere in Donington in 1988, in addition to the English circuit, only two have been the venue each year: Hockenheim and Sugo. Austria was represented for the eighth time, but this time the dangerous Salzburgring was driven again. Compared to the Österreich-Ring, today’s Red Bull Ring, the two routes are nothing in this regard. In Italy, after Mugello, it was Monza again this time, while Misano remained the venue as in the previous year.
Season opener – for the first time in Hockenheim
The season opener in Baden-Württemberg began for the defending champion as desired. Carl Fogarty disappeared from the field immediately after the start and pulled away early to avoid giving his opponents a slipstream. Traditionally, there were many overtaking maneuvers from the so-called slipstream of the vehicle in front of the rider behind. “The Ring”, which at that time was still provided with very long straights, was predestined for it. The vice world champion and titleholder from 1993, Scott Russell felt this particularly painfully on his Kawasaki. In the first race on the 6.792 km long Hockenheimring, which only lasted 14 laps, the American was passed several times and ended up only in 8th place.
The podium and the new faces
Behind winner Fogarty, Fabrizio Pirovano (Ducati) and local hero Jochen Schmid (Kawasaki) finished on the other podium places. As a complete novelty, Yasutomo Nagai (Yamaha) and Keiichi Kitagawa (Kawasaki) two Japanese landed in the top five for the first time in Europe. Behind the third place in the World Championship, Aaron Slight (Honda) in 6th place, Colin Edwards (Yamaha) was a new face in the WSBK paddock in 7th place. In the previous year, the American had finished fifth in the AMA Superbike Championship on a Vance & Hines Yamaha. With the Australian Troy Corser, the winner of the US championship also drove his first full World Championship season. He finished tenth behind New Zealander Simon Crafar (Honda) in the first race on a Yamaha. Below is the complete entry list for the first event of the season.
The second run in Hockenheim
With Pierfranceso Chili, a new face was also involved in the second race. The Italian was only 15th after a mistake on his Ducati in the first run. Before that, however, he had played well at the front and the young man from Bologna did the same in the second run. In the end, it was ninth place for him, ahead of Vice World Champion Scott Russell and Andy Meklau on Ducati, who was sixth in the World Championship last year. The victory again clearly went to Foggy ahead of Jochen Schmid and Aaron Slight on the best Honda. Nagai finished in an excellent fourth ahead of Edwards and Crafar, while his compatriot did not get past 12th this time. The winner’s average lap was almost 200 km / h, which says enough about the dangerousness of the route, which was already no longer up-to-date at the time.
World Cup round 2 on the Adriatic coast
With Misano, the second round was much warmer. At the Autodromo di Santa Monica, as the track was called back then, it was still driven in a counterclockwise direction. This time the Ducati pilots were among themselves in the first 5 places, but the reigning world champion was not in the lead in the first race. To the double joy of the thousands of Tifosi at the track, it was the local hero Mauro Lucchiari who won the race ahead of Fogarty. Third place went to Troy Corser in front of Pierfrancesco Chili and Fabrizio Pirovano. Behind the three Kawasakis from Anthony Gobert (AUS), John Reynolds (GBR) and Piergiorgio Bontempi (ITA), Kiwi Simon Crafar on Honda and Italian Gianmaria Liverani (Ducati) completed the top ten. Andy Meklau finished 11th and Scott Russell was only 14th behind Nagai and in front of Jochen Schmid. Aaron Slight only had to settle for 16th place ahead of former world champion Doug Polen.
The second race at the Autodromo di Santamonica
After the start, Lucchiari led ahead of Fogarty and Corser, after the first lap the three crossed the finish line in front of Colin Edwards on the best Yamaha. But the American fell back shortly afterwards and slowly gave up the race, rolling into the pits. While the leading group with the three Ducatis clearly separated, behind them there were exciting battles between Chili and Bontempi, as well as Russell and Reynolds for the best positions of the pursuers. In the end, Lucchiari was the first to cross the finish line again, achieving his first double victory in his career ahead of Foggy and Corser. Chili, Bontempi, Fabrizio Pirovano and Meklau followed. In the end, the duel between the two Kawasaki fighters was decided by the US American Russell and the Briton had to be content with P9 in front of New Zealander Simon Crafar on the best Honda. Slight couldn’t get past P13 and Doug Polen gave up with handling problems on his Ducati.
World Championship Round 3 at Donington Park
The reigning world champion traveled to his home country as the world championship leader for the first race. For Fogarty this meant a driving time of just over 2 hours from his birthplace Blackburn. Right from the start he took the lead and then tried to pull away. But then Scott Russell was able to catch up to the leader on his Kawasaki and was able to pass the Englishman shortly after. But Foggy prevailed again in the Melbourne Hairpin and the American began to fall back afterwards. In return, Pierfrancesco Chili began to present itself better and better. However, the Italian crashed in the 12th of 26 laps. In the end, the world champion was 1 second ahead of Corser at the finish line.
Jamie Whitham (Ducati) followed, 12.58 seconds behind the winner, ahead of Aaron Slight on the best Honda and Piergiorgio Bontempi (Kawasaki). Russell had already lost over 26 seconds to the winner on his Kawasaki at the finish with P6. The first 10 were completed by John Reynolds (Kawasaki), Simon Crafar (Honda), Mauro Lucchiari (Ducati) and the Australian Anthony Gobert on Kawasaki.
Second run at Donington Park with a large absentee
When the second race started, the double winner of the previous year was in the pits with his Kawasaki. Carburetor problems prevented his last start of the 1995 season before he left the WSBK. After the third round of the World Championship in Donington, the American stayed away from the Superbike World Championship and switched to the 500cc World Championship to replace the injured Kevin Schwantz. In his first outing for Lucky Strike Suzuki in the Mugello, the American made it into the top ten straight away. Rank 12 in the World Championship with five races less than the competition was a more than respectable result. Foggy also won race 2 ahead of Chili with his first WSBK podium of the career and Slight with his second podium of the season. Below is the result of the 2nd run in Donington.
The 4th round of the World Championship in Monza
Old master Fabrizio Pirovano came just a stone’s throw from the track from neighboring Biassono. As vice world champion from 1988 on a Yamaha, he was the last remaining top rider in the 8th year of the WSBK. The last time he was on his home track, he was on the podium twice in 1993 after third place, after having recorded double victories in 1990 and 1992. In the first race, Carl Fogarty struck again and won ahead of Aaron Slight and Colin Edwards. Simon Crafar took 4th place in front of Yasumoto Nagai, Mauro Lucchiari, Piergiorgio Bontempi and “host” Pirovano on his Ducati.
The second race at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza
After his crash in the first run, the young Australian Troy Corser took off again in the second. This time the daredevil on his promoter Racing Power Horse Ducati already got hit in lap 4. The crash was well worth seeing when he flew in a high arc over Piergiorgio Bontempi, whose Kawasaki had shot him down. Fogarty and WorldSBK Necwomer Chili dueled at the top. The Italian did not reveal a meter and in the end he managed to beat the Englishman by the minute of 0.608 seconds in front of a home crowd. Slight followed, a good 4 seconds behind second, just a blink of an eye ahead of Yasumoto Nagai on the best Yamaha. Colin Edwards was fifth ahead of Mauro Lucchiari, Simon Crafar and Fabrizio Pirovano in eighth place again. The Austrian Andy Meklau (Ducati) completed the first ten ahead of the Englishman John Reynolds (Kawasaki).
World Championship round 5 in Albacete
The first race of the Spanish World Championship round turned into a four-way battle at the top. World champion Carl Fogarty, his Ducati brand colleagues Corser and Chili, and Honda spearhead Aaron Slight were involved. The Kiwi was in second place with 94 points, only a little more than half of Fogarty with 185. Against this background he had nothing to lose. The four fighting cocks at the top fought a bend and break fight and when crossing the finish line they would have had space under a bath towel. Slight was ahead of Foggy, Corser and Chili on the ungrateful fourth place.
The second run in Spain
World Championship leader Carl Fogarty apparently didn’t feel like another heartbeat final in the second race. Right from the start he took the lead and initially Ducati brand colleague Troy Corser, Piergiorgio Bontempi and the Englishman John Reynolds (both Kawasaki) were able to follow him. But then Foggy began to separate more and more. While Honda ace Aaron Slight and Fabrizio Pirovano on his Ducati joined the chasing group and Corser lost a little connection. In addition, Pierfrancesco Chili on his private Ducati came closer and closer from behind with the fastest laps. In the ninth, “Franky” drove the fastest lap of the race. The Italian flew up against opponent after opponent until he was in second place. A short time later, Bontempi dropped out with a smoking Kawasaki. In the end, Fogarty won with 4.759 seconds ahead of Chili and Slight was just able to beat Pirovano behind.
The 6th round of the World Championship – premiere on the Salzburgring
Grand Prix races used to take place on the beautifully situated route between Salzburg and Lake Fuschl, but the route was simply far too dangerous for motorcycle races. However, this also applied to the Österreich-Ring, on which the WorldSBK has been a guest since 1988 (today’s Red Bull Ring and still controversial). Fortunately, on July 9th it was dry in the Salzkammergut and if the weather was nice, the first run started at 12 noon.
The TT-tested world championship leader was not impressed by the dangerousness of the Salzburgring. Carl Fogarty won by just over five and a half seconds ahead of his pursuers. Second place went to Antony Gobert (Kawasaki) by the blink of an eye of 0.261 seconds ahead of Corser on the second-best Ducati. There were barely more than two and a half seconds between the fourth-placed Honda driver Aaron Slight and Colin Edwards (Yamaha) in P9, so it was that close at the finish line.
The second race and the historic first win for a young Australian
After Foggy had won the first race with superiority, the Ducati works driver was also the big favorite for the second race. But this time the young Australian Troy Corser was determined to finally get his first victory. A fight between the two Ducati riders broke out between the two Ducati riders, which the private rider ultimately won with a margin of 0.237 seconds. His compatriot Gobert saved himself just ahead of the Kiwi Slight in 3rd place. Behind him, old master Pirovano was able to defeat the young Japanese Nagai, who had to be content with 6th place. The top ten were completed by Mauro Lucchiari (Ducati), Piergiorgio Bontempi (Kawasaki), Simon Crafar (Honda) and Paolo Casoli (Yamaha). The man in 11th place in the person of Helmut Bradl on Kawasaki was also interesting. His son Stefan would later become Moto2 world champion.
Second half of the year: coming soon..