“WorldSBK riders don’t speak their mind, too politically correct” - Carl Fogarty

Four-time WorldSBK champ Carl Fogarty says today's top stars like Jonathan Rea and Alvaro Bautista lack the 'personality'' to forge fan-attracting rivalries 

Carl Fogarty, Foggy

Carl Fogarty has questioned whether today’s WorldSBK riders have ‘lost personality’ and are too ‘controlled’, saying the series lacks the ‘edge’ of the bitter rivalries and feuds that defined the era he competed in.

One of the most successful WorldSBK riders of all-time, four-time World Champion Fogarty sits second on the all-time race winners’ list with 59 victories from a career spanning 12 years between the series’ inauguration in 1988 and 2000.

It was during this period that Fogarty competed successfully against some of the sport’s most iconic figures, including Troy Corser, Colin Edwards, John Kocinski, Doug Polen, Aaron Slight and Scott Russell.

They are competitors with whom Fogarty also forged bitter rivalries as they duked it out for glory on track, with the 57-year old Blackburn rider - who was famously crowned “King of the Jungle” after winning ITV’s ‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here’ reality TV show in 2014 - revealing ‘[none] of us really liked each other’.

“There’s always great racing, whether it was in my era, before me, or now,” 'Foggy' - who won all four of his WorldSBK titles on Ducati machinery - told BikeSure

“I think maybe it’s lost that sort of, I don’t know, personality. Everyone seems to be really nice now. They all like each other and go riding and cycling together. I liked it when there was a bit of an edge to it and people didn’t really like each other.

“When it was Aussies against Brits and Americans, I think the English-speaking nations always had this thing. But now there’s not really many Aussies or Americans anymore for whatever reason. In World Superbikes it’s a lot of Brits, Italians and the Spanish. 

“They don’t seem to have the same sort of aggression to fall out with you or to win or to say what’s on their mind.”

“I don’t think any of us really liked each other, unless that was just me.” 

“Having said that, after a race weekend on a Sunday night we’d often find ourselves in the same hotel, bar or pizza place having something to eat and a few beers and everything would seem to be ok. Then on a Monday you thought; ‘I hate these guys again, I’ve got to think about the race next week’.”

"WorldSBK is more politically correct now..."

He goes on to suggest this is in stark contrast to today’s current batch of WorldSBK frontrunners, such as Jonathan Rea, Toprak Razgatliolu and Jonathan Rea, who he feels are too restrained to drum up the rivalries that encourage fans to tune in.

Pointing towards a need to be ‘politically correct’ so as to not upset teams and sponsors, Fogarty ponders whether there is too much control of riders’ actions  to the detriment of WorldSBK as a whole.

“It’s just different now. It’s a lot more politically correct now. Maybe the guys can’t be the personalities they want to be because they are controlled a lot by the teams, sponsors, the media - obviously social media plays a big part in that.”

Fogarty's comments come following a public feud involving title contenders Rea and Bautista after a coming together at Magny-Cours led to the latter being punted into retirement. The incident led to a war of words between the Kawasaki and Ducati riders, with Bautista accusing his rival of deliberately taking him out and Rea saying he'd lost respect for his rival.