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Daytona: Ducati Austin Wednesday report

HODGSON QUICK DESPITE DAYTONA PRACTICE WASHOUT Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin riders Neil Hodgson and Eric Bostrom saw their track time limited by rain to just a single session on the opening day of the AMA Superbike season at Daytona on ...

HODGSON QUICK DESPITE DAYTONA PRACTICE WASHOUT

Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin riders Neil Hodgson and Eric Bostrom saw their track time limited by rain to just a single session on the opening day of the AMA Superbike season at Daytona on Wednesday. Hodgson and Bostrom practiced in the morning session, held in cool and overcast weather, before the rain (and the red flag) forced the team to park their Ducati 999s for the day. Neil was fourth with a time of 1'41.425 and Eric was 11th at 1'42.434.

Neil got in 19 laps during the session and his factory Ducati 999 clocked the trap speeds at 194.97 miles per hour on the banking. "You're always looking to improve the bike over the weekend, to make the bike faster, to handle better. Once you're really comfortable, then you get even more out of the bike as a rider," said Neil Hodgson. "We have a good direction from where I want to go with the bike, to better the feel just a little bit that can make all the difference on Saturday."

"I was pleased to get one dry testing session in today, anyway. The bike was good, but like I said we're always looking to make it better. We'd like to have the track time tomorrow morning to keep improving it," said the former World Superbike champion. "I felt a little wooden out there today, with all the time off after the last test at Laguna Seca. No excuses from me, but I think I can do better, too."

Hodgson said he hopes for better weather tomorrow. "We're supposed to practice at 8:45 a.m. in the morning, so who knows if the track will be ready to go then? We hope so. Daytona is an unusual circuit, with the high speeds of the banking and not much grip in the infield. Any track time you can get helps here."

Eric Bostrom, last year's pole winner for this race, said going into the event that he wanted to turn as many laps as possible in practice at Daytona. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate. "We had a few problems in the session," said Eric. "We were trying some new suspension settings and it took us basically most of the practice time to get things to where we needed to be. I turned a couple of laps in the 1'42 range and then the session ended. The weather tomorrow will determine a lot for us. We need some more laps and if it rains in the morning and we have to go straight out and qualify tomorrow afternoon, we'll have to really go under the gun for qualifying."

"The bike's good on the high speed stuff, very fast. It's also good on the old pavement. It's the new section where we lost a little time today," said Bostrom.

"I think the day went well for just one short practice session," said team owner Terry Gregoricka. "Neil was right there on the pace. He was within just a few tenths of the fastest time until some of the others went quicker on the last lap. We're really pleased with how well Neil is doing. Eric and his crew are working up to speed, too, and they could have used a few breaks today. Too bad about the rain."

Tomorrow's schedule includes practice in the morning and qualifying for Saturday's race in the afternoon.

<pre> TIMES: 1. Ben Spies Suzuki 1:40.505 2. Mat Mladin Suzuki 1:40.954; 3. Aaron Yates Suzuki 1:41.167 4. NEIL HODGSON Ducati 999 1:41.425;

11. ERIC BOSTROM Ducati 999 1:42.434.

-www.ducatiaustin.com

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About this article
Series AMA
Drivers Aaron Yates , Eric Bostrom , Neil Hodgson , Ben Spies