Phillip Island: Ducati round two preview

Toseland (Ducati Fila) Aims High Down Under Phillip Island (Australia), 24 March 2004: Ducati Fila rider James Toseland goes into this weekend's second round of the World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island, Australia with a 12-point lead...

Toseland (Ducati Fila) Aims High Down Under

Phillip Island (Australia), 24 March 2004: Ducati Fila rider James Toseland goes into this weekend's second round of the World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island, Australia with a 12-point lead after a superb start to the season in the Valencia opener.

The 23-year-old from Sheffield, England crashed out in January's pre-season testing on the spectacular Australian circuit, but returns to the island brimming with confidence following a win and a second place in Spain.

"I love everything about racing at Phillip Island, the circuit is picturesque, fast and exciting and it is a real riders' track" declared James. "I especially like the fast bit through Haystacks, but after my crash in January's test I would say the worst part is between Honda hairpin and Siberia, where they really ought to put some softer tarmac down!"

Toseland hasn't had great results at Phillip Island in his three appearances there, his best performance being a fifth place last year. "I was battling for third in race 1 but then my fairing fell off and I was black-flagged!" he explained.

"The main thing about Phillip Island is that you need to set up the bike different to all the other tracks but you've really got to be smooth round here" he added. "The last two lefts are critical because you can lose so much time there".

"I'm feeling really good this season and I'm enjoying my racing. I'm giving 110% every time I go out, and although I'm leading the championship, I've still got to keep it all together because anything can happen over a race weekend - just look at Regis!" he concluded.

Team-mate Regis Laconi wants nothing better than to put his nightmare start to the season behind him after scoring two DNFs in the Valencia opener. The 28-year-old Frenchman crashed out on a wet track surface in the first race and then retired with a mechanical problem early in race 2.

"I was not happy with the result at Valencia" Laconi explained, "but I feel confident about the next round. I know I am quick, I was faster than everyone else in testing, practice and qualifying so now I just want to get some racing under my belt, start off the season at Phillip Island, and take my first win of the year.

"I like the Phillip Island circuit so much, it's a place where the rider can really make all the difference. In the fast corners you can push hard but in the two slow corners it's easy to make a mistake and ruin your lap. Because the corners are so long and fast, the left side of the tyre needs to be fast for all the race and that makes all the difference" he added.

POINTS (after 1 of 11 rounds): Riders - 1. Toseland 45; 2. Chili 33; 3. Haga 25; 4. Walker 25; 5. Borciani 21; 6. McCoy 19; etc. Manufacturers - 1. Ducati 50; 2. Petronas 25; 3. Honda 15; 4. Suzuki 12; 5. Yamaha 8; 6. Kawasaki 8.

CIRCUIT INFO: Name: Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. Length: 4.445 km. Pole Position: Left. Corners Left/Right: 7/5. Finish Line Length: 835 m. Capacity: 150,000 spectators .

STATISTICS: Best lap: Corser (Ducati), 1'32.193 (1999). Lap record: Corser (Ducati), 1'33.019 (1999). Superpole: Corser (Ducati), 1'32.193 (1999).

TV COVERAGE: Eurosport (pan-European) - Sunday 28 March, 0400 Race 1 (live), 0730 Race 2 (live). La 7 (Italy), Saturday 27 March, 1100 Superpole (delayed); Sunday 28 March, 1400 Race 1 (delayed), 1725 Race 2 (delayed).

LANZI (DUCATI BREIL) BUOYED BY PROMISING VALENCIA START

After a promising start to the season at Valencia, Italian Lorenzo Lanzi hopes that the characteristics of the Phillip Island circuit will help him get the best out of his Ducati Breil 749R in the second round of the World Supersport Championship this weekend.

Lanzi, who just missed out on the podium in his and the bike's debut race at the twisty Valencia circuit, reckons that the fast flowing island track will be more suited to the powerful engine characteristics of the 749R, which recorded top speed in Spain.

"We will start off with the same set-up as we had for the tests earlier this year and see how it goes from there" declared Lanzi. "Valencia was a great result and I hope to be able to repeat it here at Phillip Island, which is a better track both for myself and my 749R. This time I hope to be further up the grid than 12th because once you loose ten seconds here, it's impossible to make up the gap.

"We must remember however that this is a world championship and the level of competition is very high. The 749R is a bike that is at the start of its development phase and we're up against some pretty tough competitors with more experience than us. But we couldn't have asked for a better start to the season at Valencia".

POINTS (after 1 of 10 rounds): Riders - 1. Van der Goorbergh 25; 2. Foret 20; 3. Fujiwara 16; 4. Lanzi 13; 5. Chambon 11; 6. Iannuzzo 10; etc. Manufacturers - 1. Yamaha 25; 2. Suzuki 16; 3. Ducati 13; 4. Honda 9; 5. Kawasaki 6.

STATISTICS: Best lap: Vermeulen (Honda), 1'35.291 (2003). Lap record: Fujiwara (Suzuki), 1'36.642 (2003).

TV COVERAGE: Eurosport (pan-European) - Sunday 28 March, 0500 Race (live). La 7 (Italy), Sunday 28 March, 1700 Race (delayed).

-www.ducati.com

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