Laconi Takes Double Win For Ducati Fila in Dramatic Day of Racing at Imola - Two Podiums For Toseland
Imola (Italy), 26 September 2004: Regis Laconi claimed his second double win of the year in dramatic circumstances at Imola to move back into the lead of the World Superbike championship with one round remaining. In front of a 72,000 strong crowd, the Frenchman first saw off the challenge of Chris Vermeulen (Honda) in race 1 and then powered past his team-mate James Toseland at the Rivazza to take his second win of the day in the second encounter. That race, which had started off with Vermeulen spectacularly crashing on the warm-up lap, ended with Laconi and Toseland making contact on the finish line on the last lap, the two Ducati Fila riders separated by just four-hundredths of a second.
"I made a few small mistakes at the beginning and the bike didn't feel so good with the full tank so I didn't try to push so much" declared Regis. "Haga passed me and James too so I decided just to follow them. Haga crashed in front of us which was quite difficult then I just had to pass James for the win. The only way I found to do that was on the very fast left in fifth gear. It was hard for sure but I had to go for it. The last chicane was very difficult, I braked late but I knew it was close to the finish so I just tried to be fast all the way through. It was really great to win at Imola today because Imola is a Ducati track".
Previous points leader Toseland saw off the challenge of Noriyuki Haga (Renegade Ducati) in the first race to take the final podium slot, while Haga saw his title hopes disappear when he crashed out in front of Toseland and Laconi on lap 10 of the second race.
"Regis was obviously protecting his line going into the last chicane" declared James about the photo-finish. "Unfortunately that finish-line is so close to the chicane but I had to try and win! It was a fantastic race, that pass he made was a tough one. I didn't want to finish second but we're still in the hunt for the title with one round to go, which is the main thing. It couldn't have worked out any better for the championship. Regis and I are team-mates so there's going to be no love lost at Magny-Cours and it's going to be close right down to the very end".
Anglo-French rivalry will reach a climax next Sunday in France in the final round of the championship, with Laconi four points ahead of Toseland and Vermeulen a further nine points behind.
Determined Ride at Imola Nets Fourth Place For Lanzi (Ducati Breil)
Imola (Italy), 26 September 2004: Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati Breil) netted his third fourth place of the season with another determined ride at Imola in a race that saw Australian Karl Muggeridge (Honda) claim the 2004 World Supersport title.
Starting eighth on the grid, the 22-year-old Italian was fourth into the first corner, a position he held to the chequered flag despite being passed by Charpentier (Honda) and coming under intense pressure from Foret and Pitt (Yamaha) in the final stages.
"I am really pleased with the result" declared Lanzi. "We knew we could do a great race but once again I finished just over half-a-second away from the podium. That was a real pity because we worked well all weekend and if it hadn't rained on Friday morning I am sure we might have been able to try and find some other solutions.
"In any case the result is a good one, a big thanks to the team who did a great job and also to the tyres, which gave me a hand in getting fourth place.
"Three Hondas ahead of me but all the others behind, for us that is a great achievement. I wanted to get the podium to dedicate it to the team and to Ducati because they deserve it, but here's to Magny-Cours where I finally hope to get one!