HODGSON BLAZES TO SUPERBIKE PODIUM AT DAYTONA Daytona Beach, FL - March 12, 2005 - Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin's Neil Hodgson finished a strong second place in the first AMA Superbike race of the season, making for a fabulous racing debut...
HODGSON BLAZES TO SUPERBIKE PODIUM AT DAYTONA
Daytona Beach, FL - March 12, 2005 - Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin's Neil Hodgson finished a strong second place in the first AMA Superbike race of the season, making for a fabulous racing debut with Ducati's factory team in America. Hodgson and the powerful Ducati 999 were fast on the fabled high banks of the Speedway, making an impressive statement at one of the most notoriously difficult tracks on the Superbike circuit. Although Neil's teammate Eric Bostrom had a disappointing end to his Daytona weekend, both riders earned valuable championship points.
Neil had a solid race that saw him charge through some of the top AMA riders to earn second position after briefly dropping to fourth. "I've got mixed feelings now inside," said Hodgson. "I'm happy to get it out of the way and get some good points, and then you're sick because you didn't win. It's like that up and down feeling. I had a bad year last year, so it's nice to get back to where you're battling for the lead and actually enjoying your race."
Hodgson turned in impressive and consistent lap times throughout the race and even cut into the eventual winner's gap when the leaders hit lapped traffic. Although he made a strong bid for victory, a win at Daytona was not meant to be. "I was comfortable running that pace. Every time I tried to push harder, I was tucking the front, though," he said.
By virtue of his second place finish, Neil will head into Barber second in Superbike points, an excellent start to the season consisting of 10 events.
Eric Bostrom was 11th in the 15-lap race. "It was very disappointing," said Eric afterward. "We tried a lot of changes this weekend, but couldn't really get faster. I rode hard and the team tried hard and that makes it even worse for me. They put in a great effort. I'm disappointed for them and I'm frustrated."
Bostrom ran a lonely race on Saturday, with no real battles for position. "At least the good thing is we have some testing lined up before the next race at Barber," he said.
Team owner Terry Gregoricka was pleased with the podium finish for Hodgson. "Neil did a great job out there. We're really happy with his result but not completely satisfied because we race to win. Still, it was a great start to the season for Neil and will help us to focus over the next weeks. We have even more testing coming up and both riders will have plenty of track time to get even more comfortable on their Ducati 999s."
The next AMA Superbike race will be April 22-24 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL.
RACE: 1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki); 2. NEIL HODGSON (Ducati 999); 3. Ben Spies (Suzuki); 4. Aaron Yates (Suzuki); 5. Jake Zemke (Honda); 6. Miguel DuHamel (Honda) ... 11. ERIC BOSTROM (Ducati 999).