“Riders today are all each other’s best friends; they go on the bicycle or rock climbing together. Today it is no longer allowed to be a character because of all the media and sponsors. They tell you what to say and you always have to say thank you. When I lost a race because of the rear tyre, I said that the Michelin tyre was crap. You cannot do that today; a lot has changed and I am not sure it’s changed for the better" declared four-time Superbike world champion Carl Fogarty speaking in an interview with Speedweek.
Fogarty in his career had so many rivalries and clashes that in today's SBK it would be almost impossible even to imagine.
"When I was racing, it was full of great characters, Kocinski, Edwards, everyone had a big mouth, no one liked each other, that was interesting, and it excited the fans. It was a bit like boxing, we first delivered a verbal exchange of blows, then we fought on the racetrack.”
Even in 500s there were a lot of clashes, remember them?
“Things used to be different in the World Championship as well. There were Schwantz, Rainey, Doohan, Gardner - they were bad guys, who could not stand the sight of each other. It's different today, everyone likes Rossi.”
At one time, the rivalries also revolved around nationality, such as that between you and Colin Edwards…
“In my time there was an Englishman - me. And there was an American - Edwards. The fans in England want to see the stars from the USA or Australia, and they want the Brit to beat him. This is how you get rivalry. The spectators love it when the riders incite each other. That is missing today, and everyone is so politically correct.”