Neil Hodgson (Team Ducati Fila) took Ducati's World Superbike victory total over the 200 mark at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza today with another double win, his fourth of the year, in front of 71,000 spectators. In glorious conditions, Neil clinched win #200 when he took the chequered flag from Laconi (NCR Ducati) and Lavilla (Suzuki). "I had a two second lead on the last lap - he declared - but then I got held up by the back-markers as we went through the chicane and I lost a lot of time. I then eased off towards the end to take the win but I didn't realise everyone else was so close behind me. Now that I've got this 200th win and Troy's record for six wins on the run at the start of the season out of the way, I feel a lot more relaxed for the second race".
Neil then added another win to his total after a superb scrap in race 2 with Lavilla, which went down to the line. "It was fun out there battling elbow to elbow at 190 km/h" declared Neil, "and hats off to Gregorio who rode a fantastic race. Frankie and Regis were also unbelievably aggressive but safe. I had no plan for race 2, I was just lucky, and ended up in the right place at the right time. All sorts of things happened to me out there, the bike wasn't perfect at the front, I ran over the kerb at the chicane and then after a flying start I lost touch for a few laps. But I managed to focus on the race, get back with the leading group and win. I'm really happy I could get the 200th win for Ducati today".
A difficult day for team-mate Ruben Xaus after his dramatic crash yesterday. Ruben was declared fit to race but made contact with Walker during the first lap of race 1, recovering well to finish seventh. Race 2 went much better as the Spaniard battled for fifth with Toseland (HM Plant Ducati) for a number of laps before crashing out at the Ascari chicane on the penultimate lap. "The whole weekend has been a nightmare" commented Ruben. "I just got started in the first race before Walker touched me and I went into the gravel trap. Then in race 2 I lost the front end at Ascari, it was my mistake. I was having problems with the brakes the whole race and I just went down. I thought I could get some points from this weekend, I'm still second in the championship but now I just need to put this one behind me, concentrate on the next races and score some points".
Ducati's 200 wins come in 16 years of World Superbike racing and Neil is the 18th rider to win on a twin-cylinder machine from the Borgo Panigale factory.The full list with number of wins is as follows: Carl Fogarty (GB) 55, Doug Polen (USA) 26, Raymond Roche (FRA) 23, Troy Bayliss (AUS) 22, Troy Corser (AUS) 16, Giancarlo Falappa (ITA) 13, Pierfrancesco Chili (ITA) 11, Neil Hodgson (GB) 10, Ben Bostrom (USA) 7, John Kocinski (USA) 5, Ruben Xaus (ESP) 2, Mauro Lucchiari (ITA) 2, Marco Lucchinelli (ITA) 2, Stephane Mertens (B) 2, James Whitham (GB) 1, Andreas Meklau (A) 1, Anthony Gobert (AUS) 1, John Reynolds (GB) 1.
Carl Fogarty scored Ducati's 100th win in Austria in 1975 with a Ducati 916 bearing the #1 in honour of his championship win the previous year, while fellow Brit Hodgson has now taken Ducati's 200th win at Monza with the #100 plate. The wins have been achieved in the following years: 1988 - 2; 1989 - 5; 1990 - 9; 1991 - 23; 1992 - 20; 1993 - 19; 1994 - 12; 1995 - 20; 1996 - 14; 1997 - 9; 1998 - 10; 1999 - 16; 2000 - 5; 2001 - 15; 2002 - 14; 2003 - 7 (until Monza race 1).
RACE 1: 1. Hodgson (Ducati Fila); 2. Laconi (NCR Ducati); 3. Lavilla (Suzuki); 4. Toseland (HM Plant Ducati); 5. Chili (PSG-1 Ducati); 6. Walker (HM Plant Ducati); 7. Xaus (Ducati), etc. RACE 2: 1. Hodgson; 2. Lavilla; 3. Chili; 4. Laconi; 5. Toseland; 6. Walker, etc.
POINTS (after 4 of 12 rounds): Riders - 1. Hodgson 200; 2. Xaus 115; 3. Lavilla 111; 4. Laconi 96; 5. Toseland 91; 6. Walker 68. Manufacturers - 1. Ducati 200; 2. Suzuki 111; 3. Petronas 46; 4. Kawasaki 37; 5. Yamaha 26; 6. Honda 21.