Laguna Seca Ducati Friday report

Neil Hodgson and Ruben Xaus (Ducati Fila) recorded sixth and eleventh quickest times respectively at Laguna Seca as multiple AMA champion Mat Mladin set the pace in first qualifying for the US Round of the World Superbike Championship. Hodgson...

Neil Hodgson and Ruben Xaus (Ducati Fila) recorded sixth and eleventh quickest times respectively at Laguna Seca as multiple AMA champion Mat Mladin set the pace in first qualifying for the US Round of the World Superbike Championship.

Hodgson was looking to improve on his third quickest time behind the two American Suzuki riders when he lost the front of his Ducati 999 at Turn 3 minutes before the end of the session.

"I just lost the front, it was one of those things" declared Neil. "I had a too hard front tyre. I need to find more grip, that's the main problem because I'm a second off the pace I was doing last year. Tomorrow morning I'm going to concentrate on getting the bike set-up well and then in the afternoon I'll do my long run. I don't think pole position is going to be possible here so it's not worth stressing myself over it".

Ruben Xaus had a crash at Turn 3 in the morning's free practice session, but felt much happier with the set-up of his Ducati 999 later in the afternoon qualifying session.

"This morning I fell off on a new front tyre because I didn't pay attention on my warm-up lap and crashed" commented Ruben. "The feeling with the bike came better this afternoon when I put a new softer rear tyre towards the end. I just need more laps and time on the bike, because we lost some time with a technical problem this afternoon. My first split is the best but the first right corner here needs a good feeling in the front and we're not there yet. We always find a good set-up on Sundays, but I'm not that far away from the guys at the front".

Qualifying saw another superb performance by Giovanni Bussei on his second race in the USA for the Ducati Austin team, the Italian clinching a provisional front row grid position with fourth quickest time.

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