Imola: Ducati preview

DUCATI XEROX TEAM READY FOR IMOLA HOME ROUND -LACONI AND TOSELAND IN THE BATTLE FOR THIRD PLAC E Imola (Italy), Thursday 29 September: Following the German Round at the Eurospeedway, the Ducati ...


Imola (Italy), Thursday 29 September: Following the German Round at the Eurospeedway, the Ducati Xerox Team will return to its regular line-up for this weekend's upcoming eleventh round of the World Superbike Championship at Imola. Regis Laconi takes his place alongside James Toseland after recovering from the arm injury he suffered at Assen. .

Ducati's home event (the Enzo & Dino Ferrari circuit is just half-an-hour down the motorway from the factory in Bologna) marks the penultimate round of this year's championship. Even though the title appears to be in the hands of Troy Corser (Suzuki), with Chris Vermeulen (Honda) still in with a chance, both Toseland and Laconi will be aiming for third place in the championship to finish the season on a high note.

Three weeks ago Laconi was replaced for the German Round by Lorenzo Lanzi, who went on to take pole and score a sensational victory at the Eurospeedway. Lanzi now returns to his usual team, Stefano Caracchi's SC Ducati, but for the final two rounds of this year's championship the 23-year-old Italian will have at his disposal a full-factory 999F05, which he will race in SC colours with additional Xerox logos on the side and front fairings.

Ducati Corse Superbike technical director Ernesto Marinelli illustrates the characteristics of the Imola track, a circuit where twin-cylinder machines have always dominated in the four editions held so far. "Imola is a complicated track for bikes because it is very old and the track surface is particularly rough" he explains. "Because of the nature of the circuit the bikes become particularly nervous, so you have to work a lot on the suspension and sometimes quite radically on the structure of the bike, because if the set-up is too rigid, the bike becomes too nervous. We have all the data from last year, and although this bike is different, it's still a 999 so in reality there won't be that many changes from 2004. We went well then so hopefully we can do the same again this year!"

James Toseland twice finished on the podium last year in his resurgence towards the 2004 title and once again the 24-year-old Brit wants to finish the season with a rush of positive results, starting at Imola. "I'm looking forward to Imola, it was a great weekend for me last year" he declared. "There are two races left, we've got a chance of finishing third in the championship and that's my aim. It's been a disappointing year as far as wins go, just one at Silverstone, but I can't think of a better place to increase my total than in front of the home crowd for Ducati. Imola is a truly exciting track, with the undulations and all the history behind it. It used to be a bogey track for me in previous years, but last year we pulled it all together. To go well around Imola you need a pretty standard set-up and we won't really be changing the base set-up too much. You need a bit more support on the front because of the hard braking but other than that the geometry will be pretty similar to what we've had and on Friday morning we'll be looking to go out and set some quick times straightaway".

Last year's Imola double race winner Règis Laconi has spent the month since Assen in a race against time to get fit for the final back-to-back championship events at Imola and Magny-Cours. "Now my arm is starting to get better" commented the 30-year-old Frenchman. "It's still not at 100% and probably won't be for the race but we knew that it would be like that. The important thing is to try and get the arm to work calmly and find the right feeling with the bike this weekend, despite the fact that there will still be a bit of pain. This last month I've worked hard with the physiotherapist to get into the best possible condition. At least I'm going back to a track that I know well and where I won last year and in 2001 because that makes things a bit easier. It might be possible for me to get third in the championship but it's not going to be easy because Haga is 25 points ahead with four races left. But I love the Imola track and we'll do our best to get some good results there".

CIRCUIT INFO: Although located right in the centre of Imola, the Autodromo Enzo & Dino Ferrari has been permanent ever since 1979, when it was updated and modified to become an established Formula 1 venue. The first World Superbike round was held there in 2001, and this year's edition will be the fourth. The 4.933 km sloping circuit has 10 left and 6 right-hand corners and a start-finish straight measuring 358 metres. Ducati hold the lion's share of the eight wins at Imola with 5 to Honda's 2 and Aprilia's 1, while the most victorious riders are Ruben Xaus (3 Ducati) and Regis Laconi (2 Ducati, 1 Aprilia) on 3, and Colin Edwards with 2 for Honda.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers James Toseland , Troy Corser , Chris Vermeulen , Laconi Régis