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Birmingham: Ducati Austin race one report

BOSTROM AND HODGSON FIGHT TO THE FLAG IN BIRMINGHAM Neil Hodgson and Eric Bostrom earned solid finishes in the points during Saturday's AMA Superbike race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Hodgson had his Ducati...

BOSTROM AND HODGSON FIGHT TO THE FLAG IN BIRMINGHAM

Neil Hodgson and Eric Bostrom earned solid finishes in the points during Saturday's AMA Superbike race at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Hodgson had his Ducati 999 Superbike in place to take another podium finish for much of the race but ended up fourth. Eric Bostrom ran in sixth position for a time but took the checkered flag in eighth place in the 28-lap race held in cool and overcast conditions.

Hodgson held third place through lap 24 but lost out on the spot when the rider he battled with took advantage of lapped traffic to make a pass. Neil, who was beginning to experience some grip issues, rode valiantly but couldn't mount another charge for position. "We had a difficult race, to be honest," said Hodgson afterward. "I felt (Ben) Spies was better than us today. I felt like he was stuck behind me, really."

Neil said the key to improving Sunday's result is fine-tuning the suspension on the powerful 999 Superbike, something that has been difficult in a rain-filled weekend with little dry track time. "We just have to try to improve the setup of the bike for tomorrow to make it a bit easier. As we stand at the moment, today's race was the limit," said the 2003 World Superbike Champion. "But we definitely have good some ideas for tomorrow to try in the warm-up," said Hodgson.

Bostrom finished in eighth position in the race stopped once for a red flag. "I'm looking forward to getting another shot tomorrow," said Eric. "I slipped the clutch too hard off the start, so I ended up getting behind a few riders. It was a bizarre see-saw battle with some of the guys in front of me. I could make up a lot of time in some spots and they were creaming me in a few others. I worked past them and was trying to get away. Then I missed my marks a few times and had some grip issues, so they got back by me. I think tomorrow is gonna be a better day."

The Californian discussed making several adjustments with the Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin team. "I chose the wrong tire for today plus we'll make the bike stiffer for Sunday," said Bostrom. "With those two changes, I think we'll be able to reach our goal tomorrow of racing in the 1:26 lap time range. I know it's possible. If we are able to do that here, then I'll call it a success. Then we'll go to Fontana where we have done well in the past and look to win the race."

Team manager Tom Bodenbach discussed the second Superbike race of the season: "Obviously, we would have liked for Neil to have been able to hang in there for the podium finish, but it was a tough task. When the grip went off, he didn't have the drive off the corners to hold off Spies even though he fought hard," said Bodenbach. "With Eric, he had a tough day at a track that is not one of his favorites. For a while it looked like he was going to be able to move up to sixth, but it just didn't happen for him today, despite his efforts."

Sunday's 28-lap event is scheduled for 3:50 PM local time.

-www.ducatiaustin.com

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About this article
Series AMA
Drivers Eric Bostrom , Neil Hodgson