Superbike World Championship Round five: Monza, Italy Sunday 12 May 2002 Race one Hodgson shows the way around Monza. HM Plant Ducat/GSE Racing rider Neil Hodgson once more confirmed his status as a championship contender by taking an ...
Superbike World Championship
Round five: Monza, Italy
Sunday 12 May 2002
Hodgson shows the way around Monza.
HM Plant Ducat/GSE Racing rider Neil Hodgson once more confirmed his status as a championship contender by taking an outstanding second-placed finish after a thrilling first race at the Monza Autodrome. His team-mate James Toseland scored his best result ever onboard a Superbike -- an emphatic fifth place -- to make it a superb start to the day's racing for the team.
After starting from pole position, Hodgson remained at the head of the field for the majority of the 18-lap race. The 28-year-old former-British Superbike Champion put in an incredibly strong showing, and dominated the frantic three-way battle for the lead that was to rage throughout the 104km contest. Troy Bayliss eventually emerged victorious from the struggle, despite both he and third-placed Colin Edwards cutting out the Prima chicane. The pair of world champions outbraked themselves at the end of the 190mph start/finish straight and were forced to straight-line the section and make use of the run-off road.
"I really thought I'd won the race," said Hodgson. "A memo had gone around before the race saying that a ten-second stop-and-go penalty would be imposed if you cut out the chicane. On the last lap, I didn't really try to get by Troy because, as far as I was concerned, I only had to worry about Chili getting past me. It turns out that the penalty wasn't imposed. I'm disappointed, but I can't take anything away from everybody else because they rode really well to catch me back up. I'm on pole for race two, I'm not at any real power disadvantage anymore and I have these fantastic Dunlop race tyres. I'll be able to give it 100% again and see if I can get that win."
James Toseland rode a commanding race to collect 11 valuable championship points, finishing well ahead of many factory riders, including Ducati's Ruben Xaus.
"That was amazing," said Toseland. "I got a good start which put me up into fifth. I was expecting to have a bit of a scrap with Haga for that position until his bike packed up. I was determined to keep fifth place, so from there on in I just kept my head down and rode as hard as I could. It's been a great day for the HM Plant Ducati team so far, and I want more of the same in race two."