Brands Hatch (England), 27 July 2003: Neil Hodgson edged closer to the 2003 World Superbike title with a second and a fifth place in the two races at Brands Hatch, as Shane Byrne picked up both race wins for Monstermob Ducati. Team-mate Ruben Xaus...
Brands Hatch (England), 27 July 2003: Neil Hodgson edged closer to the 2003 World Superbike title with a second and a fifth place in the two races at Brands Hatch, as Shane Byrne picked up both race wins for Monstermob Ducati. Team-mate Ruben Xaus retired from race 1 with an oil leak then finished fourth in race 2. It was a triumphant day for Ducati however as they won the World Superbike Manufacturers' title for the twelfth time.
"I was a bit nervous before the start of race 1 because I was feeling the pressure here at Brands" declared Neil. "When you've had such a bad weekend in qualifying you still have to go out and do it in the race and pass everyone when you are eleventh on the grid. With six laps to go when I was behind Chris, and Shakey had gone, I thought this is what the crowd had come to see, Hodgson versus Walker so I couldn't let my fans down!. Race 2 was also really difficult because the pace was hotter and the other riders didn't break down. I was catching up on the leaders but then I hit a false neutral two times into the corner off the back straight and had to back down. We were at a bit of a disadvantage on this circuit, not having tested here and with very little dry weather track time and the wild-cards were always going to be a threat because they know the circuit so well. Now I'm looking forward to Assen to take that title".
Ruben Xaus retired from race 1 with an oil leak but then battled for a hard-fought fourth place in the second race."I was going to be second for sure" he commented after race 1 "because Walker was slower than me in some parts of the circuit. It's a real pity because I was feeling good and the bike was going really well. Race 2 was not bad even though I didn't get as good a start. The only problem was that the tyres started losing grip six laps before the end when I was close to the lead and after that I was sideways all the time."
TWELFTH MANUFACTURERS' TITLE FOR DUCATI: With a double-win by Byrne
today at Brands Hatch, Ducati have clinched a record twelfth World
Superbike Manufacturers' title. The full-house of 450 points that took
Ducati to its twelfth world title in 16 years of World Superbike racing
have been scored by the Ducati Fila duo of Neil Hodgson (11 wins) and
Ruben Xaus (3 wins), together with Byrne (2 wins), Toseland (HM Plant
Ducati) and Chili (PSG-1 Ducati), who took one win apiece. Ducati have
dominated this year's championship, winning all 18 races so far, with the
victories being shared by three different models:
- Ducati 999 Factory '03 exclusively ridden by Hodgson and Xaus
- Ducati 998 Factory '02 ridden by Toseland and Byrne
- Ducati 998RS ridden by Chili
In creating the new-for-2003 Ducati 999, which was mated to the successful Testastretta engine, Ducati engineers have continued the Italian firm's winning tradition that started with the 888, the first Ducati to clinch both Manufacturers' and Riders' titles (with Doug Polen) back in 1991.
RACE 1: 1. Byrne (Monstermob Ducati); 2. Hodgson (Ducati Fila); 3. Walker (HM Plant Ducati); 4. Laconi (NCR Ducati); 5. Emmett (ETI Ducati); 6. Toseland (HM Plant Ducati); etc. RACE 2 : 1. Byrne; 2. Reynolds (Suzuki); 3. Toseland ; 4. Xaus (Ducati Fila); 5. Hodgson; 6. Lavilla (Suzuki).
POINTS: Riders - 1. Hodgson 386; 2. Xaus 246; 3. Toseland 227; 4. Laconi 208; 5. Lavilla 185; 6. Walker 172. Manufacturers - 1. Ducati 450; 2. Suzuki 235; 3. Kawasaki 84; 4. Petronas 75; 5. Yamaha 50; 6. Honda 25.