BOSTROM AND HODGSON HOPING TO RE-ESTABLISH DUCATI AT ROAD AMERICA PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 27, 2005) -- Ducati Austin riders Eric Bostrom and Neil Hodgson come to Road America's Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader event June 2-5, hoping to return...
BOSTROM AND HODGSON HOPING TO RE-ESTABLISH DUCATI AT ROAD AMERICA
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 27, 2005) -- Ducati Austin riders Eric Bostrom and Neil Hodgson come to Road America's Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader event June 2-5, hoping to return Ducati to the prominence it once enjoyed at the classic road course in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Bostrom has a renewed sense of confidence coming off his first victory of the season on May 22 at Pikes Peak International Raceway while Hodgson should feel at home on the wide-open, four-mile Road America circuit, which harkens back to many of the European Grand Prix tracks where Hodgson raced to a World Superbike Championship.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of AMA Superbike racing at Road America. The track is one of the best attended races on the calendar and has been the site of some of the most memorable races in the history of the series.
Ducati dominated the Superbike races at Elkhart Lake in the 1990s. Riders such as Doug Polen, Pascal Picotte, Alessandro Gramigni, Mat Mladin and Anthony Gobert gave the Italian marque six wins at Road America in the '90s. Since that time Ducati has fallen on hard times at Road America, going winless in the last ten AMA Superbike races there. This year presents arguably the best chance Ducati has had in years to regain the top spot on the high-speed circuit.
Bostrom, who won at the track in 2003 when he was with Kawasaki, is fresh off a dramatic last-lap pass victory in Colorado a week and a half ago.
"That was definitely a sweet win," said Bostrom of his Pikes Peak victory. "We finally got a win for Ducati. We have a better feel for the motorcycle now. We've had ups and downs, but the team has worked hard and got the bike working well for me. With the competition, racing AMA Superbike is always going to be a challenge but we have some momentum going into Road America."
Bostrom's victory in the most recent round placed him in a tie with Doug Polen for ninth on the all-time AMA Superbike wins list.
Hodgson raced World Superbike and MotoGP before coming to the AMA series this year. The British rider has never raced at Road America. However, unfamiliarity with the course didn't prevent Italian Alessandro Gramigni from taking a win for Ducati in his first visit to the Wisconsin circuit in 1996. Hodgson has earned four podium finishes so far this season, so he's shown the speed it takes to win and would love nothing more than to score his first AMA victory this weekend.
"Every morning I watch the video of last year's race," said Hodgson on his method of learning the long four-mile circuit. "It looks like a wonderful place. It's a proper racing circuit and I think it will suit the strengths of our Ducati quite well. We've been down a little this year on acceleration, but the top speed of the Ducati is good and that will be a factor on the long straights. It would be a dream come true to win this weekend."
The Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader marks the halfway mark in the 2005 AMA Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited season. Australian sensation Mat Mladin leads the championship coming into Road America. The five-time AMA Superbike champ is a three-time winner at Road America and just polished off the best first half-season of racing in his 10 seasons of AMA racing. If Mladin scores victory in both rounds of this weekend's doubleheader he would match Miguel Duhamel's record of five AMA Superbike wins at Road America.
So far 2005 is the year of Suzuki in AMA Superbike. Second and third in the standings are Mladin's Yoshimura Suzuki teammates Ben Spies and Aaron Yates. Spies will make his first Superbike appearance at Road America. The Superbike rookie has already scored a win giving him the distinction of winning in every category of AMA road racing, something only three other riders have accomplished. Yates has scored five second-place finished this season, yet is seeking his first Superbike victory in nearly two years. Suzuki riders hold six of the top-10 spots in the championship this year.
Ten years ago Miguel Duhamel scored his first AMA Superbike victory at Road America. Since then the 1995 AMA Superbike champ has become the winningest AMA Superbike rider at Elkhart Lake with a total of five victories. Duhamel has twice swept doubleheaders at Road America, but Honda is enduring a rough season thus far. Duhamel is the top Honda rider in the series at mid-season - he's ranked sixth and has yet to score a podium finish. Yet despite the tough year in Superbike Duhamel's expertise at Road America could pay off when the green flag drops this weekend.
Marty Craggill is the top ranked privateer rider in AMA Superbike. The Mladin Motorsports Suzuki rider has scored top-10 finishes in all but two of the eight rounds leading up to Road America. Jordan Suzuki's Steve Rapp - whose spectacular Road America crash a few years ago was caught by a photographer and featured in Sports Illustrated - and KWS/Millennium Suzuki's Lee Acree are two other support team riders ranked in the top 10.
Both of Road America's Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader races will be televised on SPEED Channel starting with Saturday's Superbike event being televised at 3 p.m. EST on Sunday, June 5. Live coverage of Sunday's Superbike final begins at 5 p.m. EST.
The Road America weekend will be packed with racing action. In addition to the normal schedule of AMA Superbike Championship road racing events, the facility will also host the opening round of the 2005 AMA Supermoto Championship at Road America's Briggs & Stratton Motorplex on Saturday, June 4.
For ticket information call 1-800-365-RACE or visit www.roadamerica.com. Suzuki also has a special invitation to all GSX-R and Hayabusa owners for this event. Visit http://www.suzukicycles.com/gsxr20 for details.