Mixed Fortunes For Ducati Fila in World Superbike Opener at Valencia
Valencia (Spain), 29 February 2004: The Ducati Fila riders had a couple of eventful races in the opening round of the World Superbike Championship at Valencia, with James Toseland picking up a win and a second place and polesitter Regis Laconi failing to score a single point.
23 year-old Toseland scored his second Superbike career win in race 1, which was held on a wet but drying track. "It was a strange race, first Haga came past me and I thought I was going down when Corser crashed next to me" declared James. "For the race I chose a wet front and an intermediate rear. To be honest I'd never raced in the wet with Pirellis before, so we went a bit on the safe side, but luckily they held out to the flag".
Toseland then chased eventual winner Noriyuki Haga for the 23 laps of race 2 before settling for second place and the points lead in the championship. "I was struggling in qualifying and practice with the set-up for the dry, but Nori rode fantastically well and we went with what we knew. It's been a nerve-racking weekend but I'm just glad to have come out on top and get two consistent finishes in the first round. I made a bit of an aggressive move on Haslam on the first lap and lost a bit of time and then I couldn't do anymore. It's all turned out well."
Frenchman Laconi crashed out on the warm-up lap of race 1 but was able to get back to the pits in time to mount his second Ducati 999. His luck ran out however as he again went down on the greasy track, this time for good, after just a couple of corners. Laconi's misfortune continued in the second race as he parked his 999 against the barriers after just a few corners when the bike chain derailed off the rear sprocket.
"I cannot say I feel bad because that's racing, these things happen, but for sure I'm not happy because I made a mistake in the first race and this is not good" commented Laconi. "In the second race with this problem I had to stop. I didn't do one lap today so I hope everything finishes here and things will be better from now on."
RACE 1: 1. Toseland (Ducati Fila); 2. 2. Chili (PSG-1 Ducati); 3. Walker (Petronas); 4. Borciani (DFX Ducati); 5. Haslam (Renegade Ducati); 6. Nannelli (Ducati) ; etc. RACE 2 : 1. Haga (Renegade Ducati) ; 2. Toseland; 3. Martin (DFX Ducati); 4. Chili; 5. Vermeulen (Honda); 6. McCoy (NCR Ducati); etc.
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.
EXTRAORDINARY DOUBLE DEBUT FOR LANZI (DUCATI BREIL) AND 749R IN SUPERSPORT
Valencia (Spain), 29 February 2004: Italian Lorenzo Lanzi and the Ducati 749R made a superb double debut in the World Supersport Championship today with fourth place in the opening round at Valencia.
2003 European Superstock runner-up Lanzi almost powered the twin-cylinder machine to a podium finish after terminating the first lap in a lowly sixteenth position.
But the 22-year-old from Cesena, Italy used the 749R's superb straightline speed (263 km/h on the 850 metre straight, the quickest of the day) to overhaul all the riders in the group battling for fourth place to make the position secure five laps from the end.
"I'd like to thank the engineers, Ernesto Marinelli in particular, because they helped me to chose the right tyre for the race" declared an overjoyed Lanzi. "It was a pity about the start because I got a bit left behind when the clutch jumped out slightly and then in the first curve I got bottled in and finished the first lap down in sixteenth position.
"Getting close to the podium is a fantastic result. We always said that we were working for the race and not qualifying, so you can't ask for more than that and I really enjoyed myself out there today."
This season Ducati have returned to the World Supersport Championship with a factory team, sponsored by Breil, for the first time in three years, and with a brand new bike that had its first real shakedown tests just two weeks ago.
RACE: 1. Van der Goorbergh (Yamaha); 2. Foret (Yamaha); 3. Fujiwara (Suzuki); 4. Lanzi (Ducati Breil 749R); 5. Chambon (Suzuki); 6. Iannuzzo (Suzuki); 7. Daemen (Honda); 8. Muggeridge (Honda); etc.
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.