Tardozzi: "I cried for Bayliss!"
"World Superbike has changed a lot since those early years - Tardozzi told GPone - since back in 1988, when we all had to clean the stalls at Manfield, New Zealand, so they could be used as garages for a world championship event. Things really started to work in 1990, when the Flammini brothers arrived on the scene, and when they stopped all the nonsense with the rules from the first two seasons, which cost me a championship."
Davide is referring to the incident at Donington Park, in April of '88, when a decision was made "on the spot" to award championship points based on combined times from the British race. A rule that would already be changed for the second race!
And there were some other unfortunate events that stuck out as well.
"One painful memory was the stupid red flag that cost us a championship just four laps from the end. Troy Bayliss had caught up to Edwards, and he was passing him when the race was stopped. Troy deserved that title, even if Colin was a great competitor. I cried that day."
"Things worked out better after the Nurburgring race in 1998; after two disappointing 13th place finishes from Fogarty, he literally disappeared for 10 days. It was a period of hell, but after getting his head together, with the help of his wife Michaela, Carl came back and won the championship."
Davide is also happy with the relationships he formed with his riders: "I think I got along great with all of my riders, and even with my competitors. It's always nice when I hear from them. Even some of the difficult riders, like Fogarty, just needed to be understood as human beings. I think they all realized that I was giving 110% for them, even when I told them no..."
And of course he had a special relationship with one rider in particular, Bayliss: "Troy is the guy that speaks to the fans, who rides through the pain, who wins when he shouldn't win, who is a star and a family man at the same time. He is the symbol of WSBK, which isn't made up of superstars, but of men."
But the real backbone of the series is the fans: "After the difficult period from 2002-2005, when the Japanese manufacturers had pulled out, it was only the fans that kept WSBK going. They were still coming to see a series that was, honestly, inferior to previous years. It couldn't have been easy for them to stay faithful, and if we are here to celebrate the 25th anniversary, the credit must go to the fans."