Carl Fogarty is looking for his Foggy PETRONAS Racing team to turn the promise of recent qualifying performances into the hard currency of race results at the third round of the Superbike World Championship in Valencia, Spain, this weekend.
Steve Martin set the pulses racing when he qualified in second place at the previous round in Australia. But, with team-mate Garry McCoy also showing strong signs of improved form during qualifying at Phillip Island, there was widespread disappointment when both riders drew a blank on race day.
In Spain, the Australian pair will be trying out a new stage of engine development in the PETRONAS FP1, featuring a new camshaft and exhaust, as well as a lighter crank and balance shaft.
The team will also be using an ultimate performance fully-synthetic oil - PETRONAS Sprinta 4T 5000 - for the first time in the PETRONAS FP1. This multigrade engine oil, based on racing technology, has been specially engineered for racing use. Rigorous testing against a benchmark has indicated a power advantage at
higher speeds, as well as added protection for the engine - qualities replicated in the retail equivalent for road use.
Carl said: "We know that this latest specification of engine from the PETRONAS Engine Development Team is more powerful and hopefully more reliable, but it's important to remember that this is still something of a test for us. Steve tried the new specification in Australia - and liked it. But, in an ideal world, it would have been nice to have done a lot more testing. Hopefully we can have the same sort of weekend that we had in Australia - up until race day! When I was racing I always said that qualifying means nothing if you don't follow it up on Sunday. So, after two race days with nothing to shout about, hopefully this will be third time lucky."
Both riders have a good pedigree at the tight and twisty circuit. Garry beat Valentino Rossi at Valencia in the 2000 500cc Spanish Grand Prix and Steve achieved his first World Superbike podium here last year in the second race, having opened the door for FPR's Chris Walker to achieve the team's own first top three finish when his machine broke down in the late stages of the first race of the day.
Garry said: "I am really hoping that I can get extra comfortable on the bike and hopefully the steps forward in development will mean that we can keep up with the leading guys. Australia was pretty good but there are still a couple of things that need a little work on. It's still early days for us in terms of the season's development but I now want to be fighting against those faster guys."
Steve, who is recovering from the elbow injury he suffered during a high-side crash in the second Australian race, said: "I feel pretty confident for this race weekend. If I was to compare Phillip Island and Valencia then, even with the same engine, I would think we would be more competitive at Valencia. So I am really looking forward to continuing the development of the latest stage of engine and seeing how this can improve our performance. There is still pain in the elbow but I am sure I will be able to ride okay. If I do not have any huge moments there will be no problem."
Circuit information: Valencia, Spain;
- Circuit length: 4.005km
- Pole position: Right
- Corners left: 9
- Corners right: 5
- Corner radius: Min 30m - Max 250m
- Maximum slope: Downhill 5.33 per cent, Uphill 3.58 per cent
- Lap record (race): Neil Hodgson 2003 (1:35.007)
- Best lap: Neil Hodgson 2003 (1:34.633)
- Superpole: Troy Bayliss 2002 (1:34.814)
- Best FPR lap on Michelin: Troy Corser, qualifying practice 2003 (1'35.200)
- Best FPR lap on Pirelli: Troy Corser, SBK winter test 2004 (1'36.310)