You have your icons, your underrated gems and your unsung heroes… then you have the strangelings, the quirky bikes. Basically the motorcycles we feature as part of our ‘Bike Curious’ posts on social media.
A few motorcycles can lay claim to being the oddest oddballs to have ever graced us on two wheels, but of these the Petronas FP1 is possibly the most bizarre example.
A bike that only existed in essence because ‘it had to’ the Petronas FP1 wasn’t even particularly loved by the those that begrudgingly made it (we’ll explain below…), so much so no effort was made to promote it, leading to the majority of the limited production run turning up in a tomb a decade later… well, a dusty shed in Basildon, Essex anyway.
So a bit of background as to how the Petronas FP1 came to be. Well, those in the know will be aware Petronas is Malaysia’s vast oil subsidiary, one that has always had a keen interest in motorsport on two and four wheels. Come the turn of the Millennium, Petronas hatched a plan to enter the rebranded, four-stroke MotoGP World Championship.
Plans were drawn up, the bikes developed, the FP1 was born… except it was disabled by its own foresight after a change in regulations rendered its triple-cylinder engine incapable of generating enough power to be competitive.
As such, Petronas changed tact by adapting it to compete in the production-bike based WorldSBK Championship. Hooking up with Carl Fogarty to become eponymous(ish) team manager under the Foggy Petronas Racing banner, while the FP1 wasn’t the quickest machine out there, but it was competitive enough.
That said, there was one major flaw in the plan. WorldSBK is dedicated to bikes the average punter can buy on Monday, after it has won on Sunday. Petronas had no designs on ever moving into motorcycle manufacturing, but had to give the illusion it was one by producing 150 models for the road…
Not that Petronas FP1 were fussed about that meagre number ending up on driveways, with the majority of the UK allocation (75 FP1s with another 75 for Asia) being discovered in a barn in 2010.
Which brings us to this fresh-as-a-daisy 2003 date tagged example in its signature Panache Green looking the colour of everyone’s bathroom during a period in the 1990s.
The on-brand colourways aside, the FP1 (Foggy Petronas) remains a fairly striking design for its time with its smoked front fascia and body designed for aerodynamics, which explains the lack of cohesion with the pesky addition of wing mirrors and plate holders.
With 127bhp it’s not the swiftest sportsbike out there but with 0 miles – yep, absolutely no miles – on the clock, this is something of a museum piece, not because it is a classic but because it is one of the few examples of a motorcycle that was essentially developed in a parallel universe!
So much so that this has sold for a hefty $58,850 (approx £42,000)