Ocschersleben: Team Ducati preview

Hodgson (Ducati Fila) goes for record ten wins in Germany. The 2003 World Superbike championship heads to the Oschersleben Motopark in the former East Germany near Magdeburg for round 5 this weekend, the first of three races in the space of four...

Hodgson (Ducati Fila) goes for record ten wins in Germany.

The 2003 World Superbike championship heads to the Oschersleben Motopark in the former East Germany near Magdeburg for round 5 this weekend, the first of three races in the space of four weeks which will surely put a definitive face on the championship. Moved from its regular September slot, the German round will be followed in a fortnight's time by the Silverstone race in Britain and then round 7 one week later at Misano, Italy.

After taking Superbike wins #200 and #201 for Ducati at Monza, Neil Hodgson (Ducati Fila) leads the table with a maximum 200 points from 8 races and needs just one more triumph to equal last year's record-breaking sequence of 9 wins in a row by eventual champion Colin Edwards (Honda).

"Even though I have had pole position for the last two years I didn't like the Oschersleben track at first, it took me a bit to get used to it" explains Neil. "But last year I had two third places and rode really well so now I do!. It's a difficult track because it's very twisty and follow-my-leader and one corner leads into the next. There are really only two places you can pass, into the first corner or the back straight so qualifying is important and the start more so. Laconi is sure to be a real threat this weekend because he was fast round here in 2001 and then there are the usual suspects, Chilli, Lavilla, the HM Plant guys and Ruben. I expect to have a tough race before every weekend and I don't think this will be any different".

Ducati Fila team-mate Ruben Xaus is the only current WSBK rider to have won at Oschersleben, back in 2001 when he opened up his account in race 2. He currently lies second in the table, 85 points behind Neil.

"What I wish most of all is to have a weekend without problems" declares Ruben. "We started the season well with a perfect weekend at Valencia, which is a track I don't really like much, but since then we've had problems at every race. Although I usually like fast tracks, Oschersleben is one place I like a lot and my Ducati 999 should go well there, and if we have a clear weekend the rest will come. It's not a track where you brake a lot, the corners carry a lot of speed and are very flowing. I just have to go out there and do my job, and if I do that then I know I can beat everyone and win the race".

CIRCUIT: The flat and featureless Oschersleben circuit was opened in 1997 and is the third permanent racetrack in Germany behind Nurburgring and Hockenheim. It has hosted international car and bike racing events from nearly all categories and a round of the WSBK championship every year since 2000. The 3.667 km track has seven left and seven right corners, most of them tight, and a start-finish straight measuring 680 metres.

-tdf-

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Ruben Xaus