Possible Foggy Rebirth – 2003 Petronas FP1

In Race by Tim HuberLeave a Comment

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Despite the initial project being abandoned more than a decade ago, there’s a new chapter in the ill-fated Foggy Petronas FP1 saga. Originally the machine was developed as a 1,000cc MotoGP protobike, but not long after, the plans changed and the project pivoted to focusing on a WSBK racer — lowering displacement to a regulation-friendly 899.5cc’s. Unfortunately timing wasn’t on the side of the company — a collaboration between WSBK champ Carl Fogarty, and Malaysian petroleum powerhouse, Petronas — and the following season a rule change allowed displacement to be bumped up to 1,000cc’s, giving the competition a major leg up on the FP1. (Interestingly, the original engine was a 989cc, meaning had it been left alone prior to the rule change, all would have seemingly gone well, or at the very least, better.)

In order to meet homologation rules, 150 units were produced (100 road, and 50 track) in 2003 with 75 being produced in Malaysia (making it the first ever super bike produced in the Asian country), and another 75 built in the UK (which were earmarked for Malaysian shores). The Foggy Petronas team did achieve limited success in WSBK competition, with team riders Troy Corser and James Haydon nabbing a couple podiums aboard the turquoise triples.

At the heart of the FP1 was a Suter Racing liquid-cooled, 899.5cc, four-stoke, DOHC, triple paired with a six-speed transmission. The three-cylinder mill was initially being developed by Suter as a MotoGP project in partnership with Petronas, but after plans fell through, the R&D was put into the FP1. Manufactured by UK-based engineering firm MSX International, the FP1 generated a cool 127.4hp at 10,000rpm and 67.9ft-lbs of torque at 9,700rpm, though the pure-bred race-spec motor supposedly made an even more impressive 185 horses.

It was believed that the 75 units in the UK were shipped to Malaysia where they were assumed to have met the crusher. But then in early 2010, MCN stumbled upon a warehouse in Essex packed with 60 of the 75 units, all in pristine, unused condition. This incredible find — which even came as a shock to Foggy himself — spawned the creation of the Momoto MM1 project in 2012, which purchased the entire lot of FP1’s, as well as the licensing, blueprints, equipment, and a massive amount of spare parts. Momoto’s intent was to rebadge the FP1 as the “MM1”, and then sell the model in the outfit’s native Malaysia. Momoto even supposedly had plans to introduce a naked variant too.

Unfortunately Murphy’s Law and the FP1 seem to be somehow intertwined, because shortly after after purchasing the fleet of inline-three-powered superbikes, Momoto learned that taxes and duties — which totaled a reported $9.25M — hadn’t been paid on most of the FP1 examples, prompting the Malaysian government to seize all 129 of Momoto’s MM1’s (or FP1’s). Unsurprisingly this sparked a major legal battle between Momoto and Petronas, where the moto outfit sought $83M from the petroleum company.

The lawsuit alleged that Petronas Technical Services supposedly registered just two of the FP1’s with the Malaysian Road Transport Department, despite neither specimen ever receiving an approved permit. “We took it for granted that Petronas Technical would have complied with the basic requirement of obtaining the AP’s and settled all dues to the government at the point (time) of bringing the motorcycles into Malaysia,” stated a rep from Momoto when speaking with the Malaysian Insider.

Flash cut to today, and British race car restoration experts, Lanzante Limited (if you’re not familiar with Lazante, do yourself a favor and check them out. They make pure, unadulterated rolling exotica) has just revealed in an Instagram post that it’s acquired an unspecified number of FP1 examples which will be freshened up and resold. The post reads, “All bikes are being put into full working order and made available with all spare parts backup.”

However in the comments, Lanzante states that the stable of FP1’s are in fact not the examples previously purchased by Momoto, though the British outfit fails to explain the origin of these superbikes. With Momoto having bought 129 machines, I’m not quite sure where these FP1’s came from, and while I want to say all that matters is they’re going on sale, the numbers just don’t add up to me — even after translating several full-length articles from Italian and Malaysian websites.

For more information you can contact Lazante.

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