CHANGEABLE WEATHER CONDITIONS BRING MIXED FORTUNES FOR DUCATI XEROX TEAM AT PHILLIP ISLAND Phillip Island (Australia), Sunday 3 April: Ducati Xerox Team riders RÃ©gis Laconi and James Toseland came away from the second round of the World...
CHANGEABLE WEATHER CONDITIONS BRING MIXED FORTUNES FOR DUCATI XEROX TEAM AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Phillip Island (Australia), Sunday 3 April: Ducati Xerox Team riders Régis Laconi and James Toseland came away from the second round of the World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island with mixed results as they were hampered by a lack of grip in race 1 and then had to deal with changeable weather conditions in a rain-affected two-part second race.
Seventh and fourteenth respectively were all Régis and James could manage in a windy race 1 after starting from rows 2 and 3 of the grid as Corser (Suzuki) took the win. "I never had to ride so hard to stay on the bike because the front was just going away all the time" declared Laconi. "I lost it five times at the same place at 220 kph because of the wind or the tyres, I don't know which. It was so crazy that I couldn't even stay on the bike and I just did the best I could do. I passed everyone to move up to fourth and thought I was OK but then it was so difficult because after 6 or 7 laps the bike was just so hard to ride". Toseland instead had problems with his rear tyre, which prevented him from making an impact on the race after just a few laps. "I got a bad start and almost went off at the first corner and that dropped me down to fifteenth. After that I just started to lose grip very early on and that was it for my race" he declared.
Race 2 was red-flagged for rain after just over half-distance, with Laconi four seconds behind Corser in second place. In the final ten laps, which were run on full wets, Laconi did his best to maintain that position but had a nasty moment when he lost control of the rear of his 999 at Lukey Heights and crashed. The Frenchman was able to restart but eventually finished seventh overall. "I made a good start and had a good first lap to be immediately up with the leaders. Troy was a bit faster than me but I kept second place well. I was happy because we changed the bike totally from the first race and now it was so good, so thanks to my team for giving me something different for the second race. I started to ride it in the wet but the rear shock was too hard and after three laps the rear tyre was finished. When I crashed, the rear went away and I made a big highside. I restarted the bike with the starter and got back in the race to finish seventh".
Toseland meanwhile was already out of his one-hundredth world superbike race on lap 6 after being taken out from behind by Muggeridge (Honda) at Honda Corner. "I'm going away from here with two points after working so hard this weekend. I was up there in top 5 in every practice on race tyres, so it wasn't a coincidence. In Superpole the time I did would have put me second in every other session and I was tenth, then we had problems with the rear in race 1 and with Muggeridge who cut me up in race 2. What more can I say?".
RACE 1: 1. Corser (Suzuki); 2. Kagayama (Suzuki); 3. Vermeulen (Honda); 4. Neukirchner (Honda); 5. Pitt (Yamaha); 6. Abe (Yamaha); 7. Laconi (Ducati Xerox); etc. RACE 2 : 1. Corser ; 2. Kagayama ; 3. Neukirchner; 4. Vermeulen; 5. Nieto (Ducati); 6. Corradi (Ducati); 7. Laconi; etc.
POINTS: (Riders) Corser 91, Kagayama 85, Laconi 54, Vermeulen 50, Neukirchner 37, Abe 33, etc. (Manufacturers) Suzuki 100, Ducati 56, Honda 53, Yamaha 41, Kawasaki 21, Petronas 1.