Assen (Netherlands), Saturday 6 September: Neil Hodgson (Ducati Fila) and Pierfrancesco Chili (PSG-1 Ducati) produced an extraordinary battle for Superpole in view of Sunday's Dutch Round of the World Superbike Championship at Assen. The ...
Assen (Netherlands), Saturday 6 September: Neil Hodgson (Ducati Fila) and Pierfrancesco Chili (PSG-1 Ducati) produced an extraordinary battle for Superpole in view of Sunday's Dutch Round of the World Superbike Championship at Assen.
The championship leader and the Italian 'veteran' traded the top slot throughout the session (declared 'wet' although run in the dry) and after an exciting 50 minutes the pole went to Chili after both riders had used up their supply of qualifying tyres. Chili and Hodgson both smashed the existing lap record, and the Italian's time of 2'00.874 was just one second slower than Capirossi's pole mark with the Ducati Desmosedici in this year's MotoGP race.
Hodgson, whose time of 2'01.226 puts him in second place for tomorrow's races, needs just ten points to become this year's champion.
"That was really good fun, it's great battling with Frankie" declared Neil. "I'd go out, give my best, then I'd come in and he'd gone faster again. When I came in, I was shaking with adrenalin because I'd nearly crashed, but in the end I ran out of qualifiers! I've had a fantastic weekend so far and have found the enjoyment again after two tense rounds in America and Britain. Everything is going so well, I don't want to tempt fate, but I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I know I've got one hand on the trophy but I'm going to give 100% as always".
Ruben Xaus also had a positive Superpole session, lapping in 2'02.150 on the second Ducati 999 to line up on the outside of the front row for tomorrow's two races.
"I'm always happy to be on the front row but we went a bit in the wrong direction at the end of yesterday" said Ruben. "Today we tried the same thing with a different set-up and it worked so now I don't think I'm that far from the other guys. I'm pretty happy with the work my mechanics did because we got a good set-up for dry conditions and a perfect one for the wet. For me if tomorrow the warm-up is dry it will be better because I can do some more laps and get the bike to perfection".
STARTING-GRID: 1. Chili (PSG-1 Ducati) 2'00.874; 2. Hodgson (Ducati Fila) 2'01.226; 3. Lavilla (Suzuki) 2'02.042; 4. Xaus (Ducati Fila) 2'02.150; 5. Reynolds (Suzuki) 2'02.269; 6. Laconi (NCR Ducati) 2'02.531; 7. Toseland (HM Plant Ducati) 2'02.587; 8. Walker (HM Plant Ducati) 2'02.736; etc.