BOSTROM FIGHTS TO FOURTH IN FONTANA, HODGSON A COURAGEOUS FIFTH (Fontana, CA, May 1) Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin's Eric Bostrom and Neil Hodgson had an eventful Sunday at Fontana. Bostrom was fourth after fighting for a podium position and...
BOSTROM FIGHTS TO FOURTH IN FONTANA, HODGSON A COURAGEOUS FIFTH
(Fontana, CA, May 1) Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin's Eric Bostrom and Neil Hodgson had an eventful Sunday at Fontana. Bostrom was fourth after fighting for a podium position and Hodgson finished fifth, a gutsy ride for the Isle of Man resident. Neil spent most of the day in the track medical center before being cleared to race his Ducati 999 Superbike and he returned to the medical center immediately after the 28-lap event.
"That was the hardest race of my life," said Hodgson. "It was hard to concentrate. I was just trying to finish."
Hodgson had been sick all weekend, but his condition took a turn for the worse Saturday night. While he insisted he wanted to race to keep his championship hopes alive, it appeared doubtful he could make it. Still, the doctors agreed to clear him medically. Hodgson started the race, completed it, and was remarkably competitive.
Neil is now third in the championship, but gained ground to first place despite being ill all weekend. "It's all about the championship. It hasn't been the best weekend but the championship hasn't been a negative," he said.
Team engineer Luca Ferraccioli said Hodgson's performance was inspiring for the Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin squad. "Neil had an unbelievable race. He fought very hard. He had the IVs before the race and the doctors told us he might not be able to finish. It was the best race he could possibly do. It was very important for him to finish for the championship. He's still very close to first position. What he did was very important and inspiring for the team. He's a tough rider."
Eric Bostrom was a fine fourth on the day, a solid result and his best yet in 2005. Bostrom, however, was less than satisfied because he wanted a podium finish. "I had a rough time with traffic," said Eric. "I think I could have been in a position to race them and in hindsight I wish I had done a better job keeping Spies and Yates behind me because I lost ground to them in traffic."
Bostrom and his crew continued to fine-tune the race version of the Ducati 999 for the American racetracks. "It's the fastest the bike has been this year," said Eric. "The front end was working well and we have more grip than yesterday. That was a big improvement. This is the best the bike has been yet under the brakes, which is promising. It seems like each weekend we're making progress."
"Eric had some bad luck with the backmarkers and would perhaps have had a shot at getting a podium spot if he had gotten a couple of breaks," said Ferraccioli. "He's improved and the fact that he's fighting for a podium spot is good."
The teams will race next at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California on May 13-15.