Troy Corser recently retired from motorcycle racing and I’ve been a fan since he won the American Superbike title. I came across this take by a ‘Who Cares’ on another blog, which I’ve posted mostly unchanged.
Troy Corser underrated almost all his career, was always well mannered, and modest about his achievements. He was a truly superior rider who probably could have had even more amazing results and trophies
One shall remember he won the Australian Superbike series in 1993, and then was drafted in the AMA series by Ferracci, and won the AMA Superbikes at his first attempt in 1994, while discovering each and every track! He was the first foreigner to win the championship and I think the first rookie to do so as well.
He joined Promotor Racing to compete at world level, and he was immediately successful again, finishing runner-up in 1995 and world champion in 1996!
And then Promotor decided to go GP and became a satellite Yamaha team in 500GP, with Luca Cadalora and Troy Corser, who was already Australian, American and World Champion in only 4 seasons!
Alas, Promotor went bankrupt even before the world championship started, and WCM took over, but did not pay the riders. Troy had a one-year old spare bike as his race bike, no private testing, no upgrades, no nothing. In Assen he warned Yamaha and WCM that, unless he received payment of his dues, he would not race for the team anymore. Yamaha stepped out of the dispute, Peter Clifford maintained he did not have to pay, and Troy’s career in GPs came to an end sadly before having even started really.
Troy came back to racing in 1998, in the WSB series, and on the morning of the last race of the season, he was leading the championship, and fastest in testing, way above his rivals Fogarty and Slight, with many wild cards in between. For sure Troy had his second world title in one hand already. Unfortunately, his Ducati sent him off during the warmup (rupturing his spleen), and Troy was unable to take part in the race, handing the trophy to Carl Fogarty. Foggy saw the danger, having been beaten fare and square in 1996 and almost so in 1998, and he begun playing politics within Ducati, to make sure he would be #1. 1999 was a nightmare for Troy, who left Ducati to race the uncompetitive Aprilia RSV in 2000. Troy worked hard during winter, and turned the bulky RSV into a race winner, and a championship contender. Unfortunately, budget constraints prevented the RSV from really coming of age, and at the end of 2001 Troy accepted a new challenge.
Carl Fogarty had convinced Petronas to finance the development of a brand new prototype, a 990cc three cylinder GP bike. At the last minute, the MotoGP project was turned into a WSB project, the three cylinder being downsized to 900cc in order to match the Flammini regulation, which was then 750-4cylinders, 900-3cylinders, 1000-2cylinders.
The bike was to be ready in 2002, but it was not, and Troy kept training without racing at all that year. In the meantime, the regulation was changed and 4 cylinders were authorized up to 1000cc, which meant the Petronas was doomed. Although underpowered, it had a superior cornering speed, which allowed the gifted Corser to score a pole position and many valuable points, in 2003 and 2004. But then he left Fogy’s team and accepted Batta’s offer to race the might GSX-R1000.
Troy tested the 2003 GSX-R immediately after the 2004 season, and he immediately clocked impressive lap times on that bike deemed uncompetitive when raced two years before, after having deeply modified its setup, exactly like with the Aprilia setup for Peter Goddard in the 1999-2000 winter tests.
2005 was magic: Troy’s riding abilities had been finetuned during his two seasons aboard an underpowered machine, and his lines were inch perfect, lap after lap. Go and watch his last lap at Valencia in 2005, sliding the Gixxer around, just magic!
Troy was probably one of the best riders on the planet that year, mastering his skills and using the experience accumulated during the past twelve seasons.
Nobody will ever know what would have been his career without the Promotor Bankruptcy, without the Sugo morning crash, without the politics at Ducati, without the loss of three seasons with Petronas…
Troy’s second season on the Gixxer was less succesful, and he was hired by Yamaha for 2007-2008 to develop the new R1. A job done really, as shown by his teammate’s performance, improving race after race as Troy was turning the raw racing machine into a refined and efficient racer. For some reason, although being close many times, Troy did not win one single race aboard the Yamaha, but his development skills had catched the eye of another factory willing to enter the WSB series, and Troy signed a 2009-2010 contract with BMW, which would be renewed for 2011. Again, Troy’s unrivalled abilities and experience helped BMW a lot, but the team never really mastered the electronics and the WSB S1000RR remained inconsistent and difficult to ride.
Troy’s performances became less and less impressive in 2010 and 2011, so it became obvious that his illustrious career was to come to an end. Troy confirmed during a relatively emotional last race that he was hanging his racing leathers, but probably not his testing ones, which is great for him and for BMW.