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Foggy PETRONAS Racing enter the home straight

Foggy PETRONAS Racing enter the home straight of their five-year existence knowing that points will be at a premium in the closing stages of the Superbike World Championship.

The 2006 season ends with four quickfire rounds over six weeks for riders Steve Martin and Craig Jones, starting with round nine at the Dutch circuit of Assen this weekend.

The track is familiar territory for team owner Carl Fogarty, who won 12 of his 16 World Superbike races at the venue, and during a recent PR exercise he was one of the few riders to have tested the new lay-out of the track, which has undergone major plastic surgery since last year.

Gone is the fast and banked Northern Loop, in a drive to make the circuit shorter and more spectator-friendly. But Carl believes that this has been at the expense of the track's unique appeal to riders.

He said: "In my opinion they have chopped the best bit off. I loved the fast, sweeping, banked corners. Some parts are still the same and the most important thing is that it remains safe. I'm not sure how it will affect the performance of our bike, because we are always down on power at some sections of all the circuits. But the weather forecast does not look too good and that might help level things out, and we have not had a wet race during the whole of the project so we are due a bit of luck."

Steve said: "It is going to be a tough weekend, and a tough finale to the season. However the weather forecast is not good and I actually hope it rains. The last time we rode in the wet was the first session at Silverstone and I was up there. Our bike is now revving higher so it will not be easy to ride in the wet, but it might give us our best chance. I don't think the new lay-out of the circuit is going to make too much difference as the standard of the riders is so high that everyone will have adapted after two or three laps."

Craig said: "I have only ridden the short circuit three years ago and it has changed twice since then. I think it will help that everyone is starting from scratch on the new lay-out. It is still a flowing circuit and I like flowing circuits so I am looking forward to the weekend. It's important to show that I am making progress at every round because I want to stay in World Superbikes next year. I am getting more experience every time I ride and feel as though I am improving all the time."

FPR's five-year deal with Malaysian petroleum giants PETRONAS runs out at the end of this season and Carl's team is currently closing in on finding new sponsors for 2007 and beyond.