Features 24 Mar 2020

Countdown: Closest WorldSBK podium finishes

The five tightest Superbike World Championship races on record.

After recording the second-closest podium of all-time at Phillip Island in race one, here are five of the Motul Superbike World Championship’s tightest WorldSBK podium finishes in history.

Image: Supplied.

5. Assen 1996 (race two):
A tricky year at Honda had left reigning double WorldSBK champion Carl Fogarty out of contention for a third-consecutive title, however, ‘Foggy’ was always able to perform at Assen and in 1996, the strong contingency of travelling British fans got what they came for. Despite nemesis John Kocinski passing at the final chicane on the last lap and a late charge from Troy Corser, Fogarty charged ahead on the run to the line and used his Honda power to propel him to victory by 0.070s, giving Honda their 25th WorldSBK win.

4. Phillip Island 1990 (race two):
Phillip Island has always been home to close finishes, but in 1990 it came onto the calendar for the first time and made history with the closest podium ever at the time. Home hero Rob Phillis charged to his first WorldSBK win, beating fellow countrymen Peter Goddard and Malcolm Campbell by only 0.060s. 30 years on and Phillip Island still provides that same, close-quarter racing that it initially gave.

3. Monza 2008 (race two):
Monza was always special for World Superbike and it was the Italian circuit that provided a thrilling finish to race two in 2008. A Japanese duel between Noriyuki Haga and rookie Ryuichi Kiyonari went down to the final corner, with Max Neukirchner watching on in third. On the run to the line, not one rider finished in the same position that they were in when they entered the Parabolica. Classic Monza, classic WorldSBK, heroic Haga! The difference was 0.051s.

Image: Supplied.

2. Phillip Island 2020 (race one):
The thrilling season-opener at Phillip Island in 2020 will be spoken about for many decades to come, as it confirmed that the new season really is as unpredictable as all the hype made it out to be. On the run to the line, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha) was able to hold off a late surge from Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and rookie Scott Redding (Aruba.it Racing Ducati), separated by 0.041s across the line!

1. Monza 1997 (race one):
In 1997 at Monza, it was all about WorldSBK race one when Carl Fogarty, Aaron Slight, John Kocinski, Simon Crafar and Scott Russell went head-to-head in a thrilling encounter. Onto the front straight on the drag race to the line, ‘Foggy’ was leading, but Honda power swept ahead, with Kocinski and Slight nabbing the Brit, with the podium covered by just 0.008s for the closest top three in WorldSBK history.