Laconi and Toseland (Ducati Fila) Commence Four-Way Title Struggle at Assen
Assen (Netherlands), 2 September 2004: Ducati Fila riders Regis Laconi and James Toseland find themselves embroiled in an exciting four-way battle for the World Superbike Championship as the series moves to the fast and flowing Assen track in the Netherlands for round 9 of 11.
The Brands Hatch results have again overturned the standings in this unpredictable season and with four riders separated by eight points at the top and 150 points still up for grabs, anything could happen in the final three rounds (six races) of the year. Immediately after the British race, both Ducati Fila riders went to the Mugello circuit to put in some extra testing work for the end-of-season rush.
Laconi holds a slim two-point lead over Honda Ten Kate rider Chris Vermeulen, while Brands double winner Noriyuki Haga (Renegade Ducati) is a further six points adrift, two ahead of Toseland.
The 29 year-old Frenchman, who came away from Brands Hatch at the top of the table, has a best finish of fourth place at the Dutch circuit.
"I'm leading the championship, which is OK, but it would be better if I had more points!" declared Laconi. "I'm very confident after the test that we did in Mugello because we found something a lot better for the front setting and now I have more speed and feeling, everything that I need. For sure, we will see what happens here but I'm ready to finish the season in the best possible way.
"After Brands I was angry because I crashed in the race and that is not good enough because I want to win. I really like Assen, it's very hard for riding because the track is fast, long and not very wide. The secret is to make the time in the entry to the corners, which are very fast and if you find a good feeling with the bike for this you will be quick" he concluded.
Toseland has good memories of the track, the 23-year-old from Sheffield stepping onto the WSBK podium for the first time here with third place in 2002.
"I like Assen, I've had some good results here in the past. It was the place I got my first World Superbike podium so the only thing I've been thinking about over the summer is this race", declared Toseland. "It's such a fast flowing circuit that if you get a good base set-up then it pretty much works everywhere. The main difficulty is keeping your concentration up, because Assen is a two minute lap rather than a one-and-a-half one but it's not a really difficult track.
"We've just got to do the business on Friday, Saturday and Sunday" he added. "The test at Mugello after Brands went well and hopefully we can be right on the pace from the start, but really the season is starting all over again now with everyone being so close, so it's a question of who dares wins!"
POINTS (after 8 of 11 rounds) : (Riders) 1. Laconi 218; 2. Vermeulen 216; 3. Haga 212; 4. Toseland 210; 5. Chili 180; 6. McCoy 155; etc. (Manufacturers) 1. Ducati 385 (2004 champions); 2. Honda 223; 3. Petronas 158 ; 4. Kawasaki 99 ; 5. Suzuki 77 ; 6. Yamaha 60.
CIRCUIT INFO: Name: TT Circuit Van Drenthe. Length: 6.027 km. Pole Position: Left. Corners Left/Right: 10/14. Finish Line Length: 790 m.
Globetrotter Lanzi Returns To Supersport Action at Assen
Assen (Netherlands), 2 September 2004: Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati Breil) will be hoping his August testing appearances will stand him in good stead for the eighth round of the World Supersport championship this weekend at the fearsomely quick Assen circuit in the Netherlands.
Lanzi, who currently lies sixth in the Supersport standings with two creditable fourths to his name, has remained far from inactive since the Brands Hatch race.
The 22-year-old Italian in fact tested an AMA-spec 999 in August at Mugello and at Alton in the USA one week later, in preparation for his impending debut in the final round of the AMA Superbike championship at Virginia International Raceway on September 18-19 alongside Eric Bostrom.
"I am really pleased with this new development which has undoubtedly helped me focus even more on performing well at Assen" commented Lanzi. "We are looking to get a good result at this circuit, which is also one of my favourites. The track is very fast, you have to ride very precise and I've always gone well there.
"The circuit should also be ideal for our 749R so we hope to be able to get the maximum performance out of it. Of course I start every race with the aim of winning or at least finishing on the podium and it won't be any different here."