San Marino: Ducati preview

ADRIATIC RIVIERA GREETS ITALIAN RETURN FOR DUCATI XEROX TEAM Misano Adriatico (Italy), Thursday 23 June: Much has changed in the time since the previous World Superbike race in Italy, almost two months ago at Monza. Following a difficult start...

ADRIATIC RIVIERA GREETS ITALIAN RETURN FOR DUCATI XEROX TEAM

Misano Adriatico (Italy), Thursday 23 June: Much has changed in the time since the previous World Superbike race in Italy, almost two months ago at Monza. Following a difficult start to the season, the Ducati Xerox Team has now emerged as a winning force in this year's championship after James Toseland and Régis Laconi both claimed their first victories of the season at Silverstone.

This weekend the Santamonica circuit on Italy's Adriatic Riviera will greet the Superbike regulars for round 6 of the championship. After last year's unfortunate rain-affected experience in April, this year the Misano counter moves back to its regular June slot and with the hot Italian summer already getting into full swing, a large crowd is guaranteed for Ducati's home race.

Ducati Corse Superbike technical director, Ernesto Marinelli, explains what the Ducati Xerox Team riders will be up against at the Misano track.

"We always go well at Misano, it's a track that our bikes seem to like" declared Marinelli. "Last year the weather in April and the fact that there weren't many competitive bikes on the grid stirred things up a bit. This year it will be a completely different situation, but we will start off from last year's base settings. The Misano circuit is varied and medium-fast, it doesn't have any particularly slow corners, but it does have a lot of changes in direction, as well as the long 'Curvone' which puts a lot of pressure on the left side of the tyre".

Régis Laconi's last four results at Misano have been impressive to say the least, a second, a first, a fourth and a third, giving the impression that the 29-year-old Frenchman has a special feeling with the 4.060 km circuit.

"Misano is a track that I like because it's a technical circuit, it's usually very warm here and it's close to the beach!" joked Régis. "Seriously speaking, I like all the parts of this track apart from the new section, where I seem to have a bit more difficulty. But we are working well with the bike and this year I don't have the problems that I had last year. It will be very warm here, and that makes a big difference, even from the morning to the afternoon and maybe we also have to set the bike up differently depending on the temperature. It will be a hard race because it's a very physical track and there is not much time to recover. Now we are winning, so I feel a lot happier than in the early part of the season".

James Toseland has never won at Misano, his best result being second when he pushed fellow Brit Neil Hodgson (Ducati) hard in 2003, but the 24-year-old feels that Silverstone was a turning-point in his season.

"Ducati has worked really hard after Suzuki caught us out at the beginning of the season and everything came good at Silverstone for us", declared James. "Unfortunately we've lost points but it's not over yet. My results at Misano have been a bit up-and-down, I had a terrible weekend here last year in the damp conditions but the year before was pretty good. We can go round here as fast as anybody, with the bike development, the testing and my confidence, so there's no reason why we can't get a couple of wins here. I pencilled off another notch on my list with my first win at Silverstone and the next one down is my first double-win! I'll definitely be going for it here!"

SANTAMONICA STATISTICS: The 2005 championship reaches its half-way point with this year's fifteenth edition of the Santamonica event. The first race was held in 1991 and saw two wins go to Doug Polen (Ducati). Since then all the Superbike greats have added their names to the list of winners: Falappa (4 times), Polen, Kocinski and Bayliss (3), Lucchiari, Slight, Fogarty, Corser, Xaus and Chili (2), Russell, Bostrom and Laconi (1) last year. Among the manufacturers, the undisputed queen of Misano is Ducati with 22 wins, followed by Honda (3), Aprilia (2) and Kawasaki (1). Four riders are top of the pole position category: Falappa, Fogarty, Hodgson and Corser with 2 each, followed by Polen, Russell, Kocinski, Yanagawa, Bayliss and Martin with 1. The track records all belong to Troy Bayliss (Ducati), who has set them in 2002: Superpole 1m33.525s (156.279 km/h), Lap record 1m34.913s (153.994 km/h). The two races will be run over a distance of 101.500 kilometres (25 laps).

ON THE BEACH: Activities on Thursday Press Day at the Santamonica track will include a beach volley challenge between Riders and Media on the sands of the Misano seafront. The tournament, organised by FGSport and Superbike Italia, will take place in the 'Romina' beach club belonging to Pierfrancesco Chili and his wife. It will see the participation of the top Superbike riders, including Ducati Xerox Team's James Toseland and Régis Laconi, as well as representatives from Supersport and Superstock.

DUCATI STORE IN THE PADDOCK: At the Misano round, Ducati will also be present from Thursday thru Sunday with a stand selling clothing and accessories. A Ducati sales point will be set up inside the circuit, close to the main entrance, in the heart of the Superbike Paddock. Misano fans at the race will be able to purchase a selection of Ducati Corse products, including T-shirts, scale models, caps and gadgets. In this area there will also be a display of Ducati bikes, articles and products of Ducati's partners, as well as a corner dedicated to the DRE (Ducati Riding Experience), Ducati's world-famous Imola riding school.

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Troy Bayliss , Neil Hodgson , James Toseland , Laconi Régis