During the interview we did with Davide Tardozzi live (watch the video HERE), as well as talking about Ducati’s present and future in MotoGP, we spoke with the Italian manager about World SBK, a championship in which Davide both raced and worked with top riders,such as Fogarty, Corser, Bayliss and Haga, to name but a few.
Tardozzi gave us his point of view on Ducati's chances of winning the title with the Panigale V4 in 2021, with the unknown factor of finding out how much progress Kawasaki has made with the new bike. We then discovered with Davide several interesting stories about Fogarty's career in Ducati and how important his wife Michaela was.
"I think Jonathan is really very good. He is fast and uses his head a lot - Tardozzi told us - It is true that Kawasaki invests a lot, but he is also very good. We hope that Scott Redding, Michael Rinaldi and Chaz Davies can beat him this year. I think Scott in particular has the chance to fight it out. In 2020 he had a good start, then he had some problems but in my opinion he learned a lot in his first season and he will fight it out. I have seen and feel that he is really convinced of his possibilities ".
Tardozzi: "Two years ago Rea could have arrived in MotoGP, but now it's too late"
Rea in MotoGP represents a possibility that has never come about. What do you think about that?
"In recent years, Jonathan Rea has missed out on the opportunity especially due to his age. Having said that, a couple of years ago his manager looked into the possibility of going to MotoGP. I think those two races he did in MotoGP with Honda in place of Stoner he did very well, he scored two top ten finishes. And the Honda guys asked him not to crash. So hats off to Jonathan, in my opinion those two races were undervalued since he was obliged not to crash. On his MotoGP debut he was very good. Then he tied himself to Kawasaki for SBK, he has won a lot and now he is, I think 34 years old. He is no longer really an attractive proposition for MotoGP. "
You have always been the man in the garage at Ducati, someone capable of managing the riders even in difficult moments. How did you manage a ‘bulldog’ like Fogarty?
"I have always had an incredible strength with Carl for a very simple reason. I realized that in the Fogarty household, Michaela, his wife, was in charge. When I had her on my side, I knew it was all OK. She was very smart and in my opinion the Fogarty family won four world championships, but Carl won two and Michaela the other two. I say this because after winning in ‘94 and ‘95, in 1998 when he won his third title he wanted to quit in mid-season.
Tardozzi: "Fogarty won four SBK World Championships. Two Carl and two Michaela!"
This story you have to tell us!
"At the Nurburgring he had two very bad races, I seem to remember that he finished outside the top 15. After race 2 we went back to the garage and he vanished and it was July. I remember that there was also the first WDW in Ducati history the following week. We thought that he was just pissed off with that result. Only the WDW was the next week, so I started calling him on the phone and he didn't answer. So I decided to call Michaela, who said candidly: 'Carl wants me to tell you that he has decided to quit racing and doesn’t want to come to WDW'. At that point, after I had said to her what I had to say on the phone, Michaela realized that Carl should definitely come to Misano for WDW and convinced him."
At Misano at the WDW he didn't want to ride on the track, how did you convince him?
"He arrived on Thursday at Misano and it was raining. I asked him to ride, to get familiar with the bike in the wet because he didn’t feel good in those conditions and he replied 'No way'. So again, I had to talk to Michaela, make her understand... in the end Carl went out, lapped and crashed at the Quercia, luckily going slow. The scene on his return to the pits was one that had to be filmed with cameras, but I knew I was right. It was a fight to get him back onto the track, but he absolutely didn't want to go out. In fact he finished the WDW and then went home. I took a flight and went to his house in England. Michaela had prepared a room for me and when Carl saw me at home he said 'but what are you doing here?’. I replied merely that I had come to see his wife. Just think that Carl was very jealous. In the end I stayed a few days there, I managed to calm him down and so he decided to go back to racing and you all know how it went. He won the first two world championships, the others for me were won by Michaela".
You have experienced a lot of great moments and difficult ones at Ducati. Can you tell us one that made you laugh heartily?
"Something that made me laugh in my career at Ducati? There is one story, it really is a bit of a joke. In 2000, after Fogarty got injured at Phillip Island, we took Bayliss for the Sugo race and then Luca Cadalora came to Donington. Troy was racing for us in AMA and we had called him on the fly to race in Japan in Sugo. He was unlucky, because they took him out twice, so he didn't get a chance to prove anything in the end. In qualifying he did not even go badly, because he was the best Michelin rider in 11th but the qualifying Dunlops at the time were extraordinary. He then came back with us at Monza but that's another story. "
Tardozzi: "Funny moments in Ducati? Cadalora gave me one"
So it was Cadalora's turn to race the bike at Donington…
"Yes, Cadalora came to England, also because he had always been very strong on that track and in Ducati we decided to give him a try. You will remember that great battle in 500 with Rainey. To be honest Luca made a poor impression that weekend and going home I remember well what he said. Cadalora was an excellent test rider, but he was very experienced with the 500. On our bike he came out with a legendary phrase: 'But where do you guys think you’re going with those little tubes ...' obviously referring to our trellis frame. For years therefore when we had to change the frame, we had to change the ‘little tubes'. Luca is a friend and a great person, but this made me laugh. "
At least that opened the doors to the return of Bayliss…
"Yes, after that Bayliss came back and we all remember how it went. In Monza he made that absurd overtaking move and then at Hockenheim he won, so he became a legend".