Troy Corser - Super Corser!
By: Tasha Crook | Published 05 August 2008, 17:03 | Views: 5,733 | tags: interviews, troy corser, wsb, sbk, yamaha motor italia, brands hatch, london
With two World Championships, an AMA Series title and an Australian Superbike title under his belt, Troy Corser is already a racing legend. Since he started racing full time in WSB in 1995, he has started 295 races, had 33 wins, finished on the podium 122 times, got no less than 42 pole positions and 43 fastest laps. Still in Superbikes and in his second season with the Yamaha Motor Italia Team, there has been much speculation in the motorcycle press about who Troy will ride with next season. Foxy headed to Brands Hatch for the next instalment of WSB and to meet Troy to find out what is really going on....36 year old Troy from Wollongong, New South Wales in Australia started his racing career at the meagre age of ten in motorcross and enduro. In 1989 at the age of 18 Troy was road racing, and won the State 250cc production and ‘C’ grade championship on his RGV250. That year also he was the winner of the Australian MSN ‘Win a Ride’ competition at Phillip Island, which took him on the bigger and better things.
In 1992 Troy made his debut as a wild-card in World Superbikes at his home rounds in Australia and New Zealand on his Yamaha FZR750R scoring points in both rounds. The following year Troy won the Australian Superbike title and in 1994 he was the first ever non-American to win the AMA Superbike Championship. During that season he wild-carded in WSB claiming no less than five podium places and finished an astonishing 11th in the championship.
1995 saw Troy enter his first full season on the World Superbike stage on a Ducati 916, with Carl Fogarty as his team mate. Carl won that year with Corser finishing a close second with four race wins, 15 podiums, four pole positions and five fastest laps. He only had to wait until the next season to get his first world title, once again on the 916. He was the first ever Aussie to win the championship and also the youngest ever winner aged 24, claiming seven race wins, 13 podiums, five pole position and an incredible 10 fastest laps, he was certainly a force to be reckoned with.
Now World Superbike Champion, Troy’s next challenge for himself was to hit the scene of 500GP class. Back with Yamaha and an Australian run team, he had a completely competitive package behind him and everything to go for. Unfortunately, seven races in and half way through the season his team ran out of money, Troy’s GP dreams were over. Not one to give up, Troy competed in and completed his first Suzuka 8-hour race with Scott Russell.
1998 and Troy was back racing in World Superbikes, back with Ducati AD-VF and leading the series once again until a crash in the warm-up of the last round at Sugo put him out of action. He finished third that year because of it. It was a similar story for 1999, still riding a Ducati but with a different team, he once again finished third in the championship with equal points to Colin Edwards.
The next year 2000 saw Troy change team again, this time for the Aprilia Racing RSV1000 SBK team. Ever Mr. Consistent, Troy got five race wins, eight podiums, four pole position and four fastest laps, and for the third year running he finished third in the series. He stayed with Aprilia Racing for the following year and finished fourth in the championship.
Always after a new challenge, Troy changed team and bike again, this time he paired up with his old rival Fogarty who has just starting his own team Foggy Petronas Racing FP1. The bike was a completely new concept with three cylinders and due to development problems Troy was forced to sit out of the 2002 season. Troy stayed with Petronas Racing for two more years; the bike was nowhere near as fast as the other machines on track but Troy managed to get the bike on the front row at the very first race. Things didn’t really go according to plan after that; he finished 2003 in twelfth position in the series, but on the up-side he and his long term partner Sam did welcome their new son Kalani Grey into the world. 2004 saw Troy finish in a slightly better ninth position in WSB with one podium and two superpoles.
Not on to give up or to let the past three years of non scores affect him, Troy moved on and was offered a ride with Francis Batta’s team Alstare Suzuki Corona Extra for 2005; he was completely unstoppable. He wiped the floor with the rest of the paddock with a total of eight race wins, a staggering 18 podiums, four superpoles, three fastest laps and became Superbike World Champion once again. That year was a full one for Troy; he finally married his partner Sam twice, once in their home town of Wollongong at the start of the year and again in Knebworth Park, Hertfordshire in the UK at the end of that year. Mid-season Sam gave birth to their second child, a daughter called Kelisa Iliana-Rose. So, a great result all round!
He stayed with Alstare Suzuki for 2006 to defend his title, but bad luck and a few silly mistakes marred his chances of the title and he finished fourth in the series.
Troy left Suzuki in 2007 to go back to his roots with Yamaha to take a ride with Team Yamaha Motor Italia WSBK, pairing up with ‘Nitro’ Noriyuki Haga. With his immense skill, experience and gusto he was bought in the help develop the new 07 Yamaha YZF-R1, which he did with style. That year he took his 40th pole position, and not only that he beat a new record for the most World Superbike race starts ever, an incredible 275, beating Pier Francesco Chilli who held the record previously. Troy finished fifth in the championship with eight podiums, two superpoles, two fastest laps and one lap record. Although Troy didn’t manage win the title for himself, he did manage to win the manufacturers title with Haga for Yamaha.
Now 2008, Troy stayed with Yamaha Motor Italia and team mate Haga. The start of the season didn’t go his way with a few non scores and technical problems, but he has fought back hard and lays currently third in the championship with 242 points behind series leader and fellow country man Troy Bayliss (Ducati Xerox) with 334 points, and young and upcoming German racer Max Neukirchner (Alstare Suzuki) with 252 points.
Corser’s championship dreams are but far from over and his ambition is to win the world championship three times on the three different machines, with Brands Hatch now under his belt and Donington Park just around the corner, there are just four races left until the season closes... Will Troy achieve his ambition? Or will he move on next season to another team? Read on and find out more...
Foxy: There are 250 points left on the table this season, do you think that you can ruin Bayliss’ retirement plans?
Troy: Well you know it’s really Troy’s to lose now. I hope with that sort of a point gap he can either go out there and try and win it or ride round it and settle. Knowing Troy he’ll still be out there trying to win races, so it’s really his to lose. My goal now is to get second in the championship; unfortunately we lost a few too many points at the beginning and a few non scores on a few of the races. I’m happy with the way my season has gone, the second half better than the first but, it should be ok...
Foxy: One of your ambitions is to win the Championship on three different bikes, it’s not going to be possible this year so, what do you think about the ride with BMW next year? Do you think you have got a good chance there?
Troy: Well you know I could be back here at Yamaha yet; I have been talking to everybody really at the moment...
Foxy: So it’s not a definite yet then?
Troy: No, no... It’s nothing definite at all. You know everybody thinks it’s all been done and signed and I’m definitely there but I’m obviously in discussions with a lot of different people but BMW is one of them, but like I said I want to be in a good bike that is competitive and with the personnel that I feel that are capable to give me the chance to win the world championship, if it’s them, so be it... but like I said at the moment I fell I’ve got a good enough package here at Yamaha to have a shot at winning the championship.
Foxy: With all of the electronic rider aids on the bikes these days, has it affected your riding style at all?
Troy: It hasn’t affected mine because I have turned it all off (Troy laughs), I tried riding with it and I just don’t like it, not a lot of it anyway, maybe just a small amount. It’s just made the bikes a bit easier to ride I think, they’re a bit more controllable...
Foxy: So do you think it has hindered your performance more than anything having them on there?
Troy: I think a rider with less of an ability can probably be as fast as somebody on a bike that’s got these electronics. If you took it all off I don’t think you’d have the same group of guys up the front there, you’d have a few. It’s more of a safety thing really, I thought that’s what it was introduce for, not to sort of help us at all, but it is a bit of an aid. It is what it is.
Foxy: Do you plan on changing your helmet design for this season? If so, what will it be?
Troy: I’m actually quite happy with the matt black, it’s working pretty well. Shark have been fantastic for me, I have tested them out a few times and had no problems at all and I’m happy with that. I think the helmet design really works; it’s one of their biggest sellers so I don’t think they will want to change it too often.
Foxy: Do you get time to follow MotoGP at all?
Troy: Honestly, I watch any motorcycle racing, whether it’s the British Championship or the Australian, world or MotoGP, or what ever... I’m a rider so I like to watch it. I’m not the best at the race circuit, when I’m at the track and I can’t be riding, but I can sit and watch it on the TV not too bad. It’s great...
Foxy: With Laguna Seca being one of your favourite circuits, what did you think of the Rossi/Stoner battle and the Cork Screw moment?
Troy: I think just about every form motorcycles racing has had an incident like that at the Cork Screw whether it’s AMA or even World Superbike, we’ve had it in the past there. It was good to see, its proper racing... it’s fantastic to see that Rossi could step it up a bit and take it to Stoner, because I think he was on fire all weekend and that probably made it harder for Casey to swallow after it finished, but you can’t be too disappointed with yourself after a ride like that against those two guys... It was great to see.
Foxy: What did you think of the Miller Motorsports Park?
Troy: Miller Motorsports was fantastic, it’s one of the best complexes we’ve have ever been to for sure...
Troy: Just the finish, how they all have it all laid out, where the toilets are positioned, canteens and food block, just everything really to be honest. They have obviously spent a lot of money to do it, but I’d say it’s definitely the best complex that I’ve been to for sure in my racing career, so they’ve done a great job and the grips fantastic and the people are really nice out there in the Salt Lake area. They are very outdoor people, they’re into their mountain biking and hiking... It was really nice to get back out there and catch up with some old friends.
Foxy: On the TV, the crowds looked a bit thin on the ground, were there any hidden grand stands we couldn’t see?
Troy: Erm... No, like I said Salt Lake is out there in the middle of nowhere although the city’s grown quite big now. But saying that, I was told by one of the people at the track that the Superbike was the second biggest sporting events that they have had other than the Olympics they had there... so it couldn’t have been that bad, or the other events were small! (Troy Laughs) It’s such a big vast area that it was hard to see how many people were there.
Foxy: Yeah, it just looked like there were actually not that many people there to us...
Troy: There’s nothing on the inside, everything is on the outside there... There’s no grand stand’s on the inside of the race-track at all which probably makes it a bit different because you don’t get to see that with the cameras passing over the grand stand, it’s a little bit different, but good fun.
Foxy: You have spent years travelling around the world, how easy or difficult is it to maintain a stable family unit?
Troy: Fortunately my wife’s been around motorcycles even before we were together. Back in the Sheene-era with her mum involving motor sports back then, so she understand as riders what we have to do. That we have to go away and race and test and all these things, so I am fortunate there that my wife has no problems at all and lets me go and do it. But when I’m not at the track I spend as much time as possible every day with the kids and my wife, but yeah it is a bit testing at times when there is a few in a row or a couple of tests and stuff, but it’s all working pretty well. The kids enjoy watching me on TV, especially when I wave and they I am waving to them. So it’s all good.
Foxy: It must have been difficult in 2005, when you were winning races and leading the championship with a new baby Kelisa on the way; that must have been really tough...
Troy: Not for me! It was quiet easy... (Big laugh)
Foxy: What about the stress levels?
Troy: For me, my wife Sam wasn’t stressed at all really, she didn’t let on to me too much; she just had the normal pregnancy stuff. She enjoyed the pregnancy, no sickness or anything so I think that made a big difference for me, for her and the way the kids are today really. But they know what it’s all about they are not scared of it or frightened of it or anything like that.
Foxy: Would you encourage them to get into racing?
Troy: My little boy is already riding a bike now and he’s five. Mainly on BMX bikes but he’s on a motorbike already. But he likes golf I take him to the driving range, and we hit buckets of balls out and stuff. I like to give him the option to have the availability to try everything really.
Foxy: They are luckier than most kids with what they are surrounded by!
Troy: Done in the right way as well I think so you don’t end up pushing them around and stuff. Hopefully if they enjoy it enough they will be good at it.
Foxy: I have read that you have a Harley Fatboy! Where is your favourite place to go cruising and do you get to go out on it much?
Troy: I’ve actually got it out in Australia so I only get to use it when I go back there at Christmas time and New Year sort of period. I actually go to ride with a bike club down there. About a 300 strong group, just Harleys, just boys; I just enjoy riding out into the middle of Australia pretty much, we just go for a few days and we camp out and that’s where I really feel like I can actually relax and enjoy myself because I am a nobody there. I’m just one of the boys. Yeah its fantastic and they enjoy me coming along, having a bit of a laugh and telling stories and stuff but I don’t get a chance to ride it enough, it’s just once a week to go for a bit of a blast. Yeah I enjoy it; it’s definitely the place for it out in Australia,
Foxy: My last question, do you have something planned that you would love to do when you finally retire?
Troy: At the moment I’m thinking about another couple of years racing for sure. After that maybe test riding or development riding for a manufacturer could be interesting; I feel like I have a lot of information that can to help build a bike.
Foxy: Well, you have won enough championships haven’t you?
Troy: Yeah, rider championships and even manufacturing championships. With Yamaha we won the championship with them last year, Suzuki before that when I was with them. I feel like I have a lot to give, like I say I still wanna be riding bikes, maybe not racing bikes.
Foxy: Troy, thank you so much for taking the time out for this interview with me...
Troy: It’s been a pleasure...
Results 2008 WSB Great Britain - Brands Hatch
Race 1 - 25 Laps:
1. Ryuichi Kiyonari - Honda - JPN 36'18.607
2. Troy Bayliss - Ducati - AUS 0'0.137
3. Max Biaggi - Ducati - ITA 0'0.180
4. Yukio Kagayama - Suzuki - JPN 0'5.733
5. Fonsi Nieto - Suzuki - ESP 0'6.499
6. Carlos Checa - Honda - ESP 0'6.984
7. Max Neukirchner - Suzuki - GER 0'8.300
8. Troy Corser - Yamaha - AUS 0'10.732
9. Jakub Smrz - Ducati - CZE 0'16.547
10. Roberto Rolfo - Honda - ITA 0'16.569
Race 2 - 25 Laps:
1. Ryuichi Kiyonari - Honda - JPN 36'14.904
2. Noriyuki Haga - Yamaha - JPN 0'1.848
3. Troy Corser - Yamaha - AUS 0'8.883
4. Max Neukirchner - Suzuki - GER 0'11.180
5. Fonsi Nieto - Suzuki - ESP 0'12.928
6. Michel Fabrizio - Ducati - ITA 0'13.696
7. Tom Sykes - Suzuki - GBR 0 '13.872
8. Carlos Checa - Honda - ESP 0'14.009
9. Jakub Smrz - Ducati - CZE 0'19.065
10. Lorenzo Lanzi - Ducati - ITA 0'19.864
Best Lap: Ryuichi Kiyonari - Honda - JPN 1'26.560
Rider Standings 03/08/2008:
1. Troy Bayliss - Ducati - AUS 334
2. Max Neukirchner - Suzuki - GER 252
3. Troy Corser - Yamaha - AUS 242
4. Carlos Checa - Honda - ESP 233
5. Noriyuki Haga - Yamaha - JPN 230
6. Fonsi Nieto - Suzuki - ESP 183
7. Max Biaggi - Ducati - ITA 166
8. Ryuichi Kiyonari - Honda - JPN 165
9. Michel Fabrizio - Ducati - ITA 161
10. Ruben Xaus - Ducati - ESP 148
1. Ducati 403
2. Yamaha 345
3. Suzuki 303
4. Honda 297
5. Kawasaki 64
I would like to thank Sam Corser for arranging this interview for me and Troy for taking the time out for our chat.
Images by Andrew Harbron at Londonbikers.com
click to zoom