HODGSON EARNS LAGUNA SECA PODIUM FOR PARTS UNLIMITED DUCATI WITH SPECTACULAR CHARGE Monterey (California) 22 July 2006: Neil Hodgson earned a strong third place in Saturday's AMA Superbike race at Laguna Seca, producing a podium finish in front...
HODGSON EARNS LAGUNA SECA PODIUM FOR PARTS UNLIMITED DUCATI WITH SPECTACULAR CHARGE
Monterey (California) 22 July 2006: Neil Hodgson earned a strong third place in Saturday's AMA Superbike race at Laguna Seca, producing a podium finish in front of the large crowd assembled for the US Grand Prix weekend. Ducati 999-mounted Hodgson charged through the field in the California heat, moving his way through a fierce pack of Superbike riders. Hodgson rose from sixth place in the early stages to challenge for second place in the 28-lap event. Teammate Ben Bostrom finished seventh despite dehydration forcing him to the medical center immediately after the race. Bostrom ran strongly in second place before becoming ill at the mid-point of the event.
"I feel really pleased. I thought the race went really well for us today. Hopefully, we'll become regulars on the podium from here on out," said Hodgson of his charge that saw his best laps come near the end of the race. "We were strong today despite the heat and had some good battles out on the circuit. Tommy Hayden rode a great race and, as it came down to the final laps, it looked as if the two of us would be fighting for second place. He pulled a bit of a gap but I chased him down and was planning my moves for the end. I lost the front really badly with three laps to go. At that point, I felt that it would be best to be content with the podium. It's been a tough weekend and we needed a good result to build on."
Hodgson continued: "The team were really put in a rough spot here at Laguna. This was one of the most difficult races of the year. The heat was tough on everyone. The track was bumpy and we didn't have much practice time, but we all pulled it together and I'm proud of the crew for working so hard," said Hodgson.
Ben Bostrom saw a strong result escape when he became ill. Bostrom thought he might be bound for yet another Laguna Seca victory but saw his hopes foiled when he became ill during the race. "I'm disappointed because I thought I had a great shot at a win today," said Bostrom. "We were about halfway through the race and I had a lot in reserve. I was just cruising out there. Then I got sick and just fell apart, end of story. I should have pulled in because I was so weak I could barely ride. I was done." Still, Ben managed to better two factory Superbike riders even though he had to check in to the Laguna Seca medical center for fluids immediately after the race.
Bostrom is positive on the next races for the Parts Unlimited Ducati Team. "After our tests, the Miller races, and now Laguna, we are super confident going into the next events."
Team owner Terry Gregoricka was pleased with the performance of both the riders and of the team at Laguna Seca. "This is the type of result we've been working for and one we can use to get some positive momentum," said Gregoricka. "Neil's podium was well deserved. It's great watching the team's rider putting in his best laps towards the end of the race. With Ben, he really charged hard and just was a little unlucky today. We're feeling good about the way things are going."
Results: 1. Ben Spies, Suzuki 2. Tommy Hayden, Kawasaki 3. Neil Hodgson, Parts Unlimited Ducati 4. Miguel Duhamel, Honda 5. Aaron Yates, Suzuki. 6. Mat Mladin, Suzuki 7. Ben Bostrom, Parts Unlimited Ducati 8. Jake Zemke, Honda 9. Jason Pridmore, Suzuki 10. Steve Rapp, Suzuki
AMA Superbike points (after 12 races): 1. Ben Spies, Suzuki 426 2. Mat Mladin, Suzuki 392 3. Miguel Duhamel, Honda 329 4. Neil Hodgson, Parts Unlimited Ducati 317 5. Tommy Hayden, Kawasaki 304 5. Aaron Yates, Suzuki 304 7. Jake Zemke, Honda 296 8. Ben Bostrom, Parts Unlimited Ducati 268 9. Jason Pridmore, Suzuki 259 10. Steve Rapp, Suzuki 226