Bologna (Italy), 16 October 2003: Ducati Corse wishes to confirm its official participation in the World Superbike championship, the world's most important production-based racing category, and announces that Regis Laconi and James Toseland will...
Bologna (Italy), 16 October 2003: Ducati Corse wishes to confirm its official participation in the World Superbike championship, the world's most important production-based racing category, and announces that Regis Laconi and James Toseland will spearhead the Ducati Fila team attack in the 2004 championship on board the successful Ducati 999 factory bikes.
28 year-old Laconi from St. Dizier, France, is currently lying third in this year's championship on a Caracchi NCR Ducati 998RS after a string of strong performances. In 2003 he has finished on the podium five times and set two fastest laps as well as pole position at Sugo. Laconi is also one of the few riders to have won races in both the GP and Superbike categories and could become the first French rider to win the World Superbike championship since the legendary Raymond Roche in 1990.
"I've been waiting a long time for this opportunity and I'm so happy to ride a factory Ducati bike for next year" declared Laconi. "I tried my best to win some races with NCR Ducati, but next year everything will be in place and I hope to do just that. I can't wait to start work as soon as possible, but at the moment I still have to race at Magny-Cours this weekend!".
Toseland, currently fourth in the standings behind Laconi on an HM Plant Ducati 998 F02, will line up alongside the Frenchman in the Fila-backed Ducati team. He is the latest in a series of riders, including Troy Bayliss and Neil Hodgson, who both became WSBK champions, to move up from the GSE Racing satellite team to the factory squad. The 23 year-old from Sheffield, England, who took his first win this year at Oschersleben when he got the better of Hodgson in race 2, is Britain's best hope for another world superbike champion.
"I've been dying to tell everyone the secret really!" Toseland joked about his ride for next year. "I'm sorry to hear that my current team are pulling out of the championship but a big thanks to them for giving me the opportunity to move on. After Troy and Neil I'm the third rider to move up into the factory team and I've got a lot to live up to ... hopefully I can follow suit! I've had some good races this season and it was nice to beat everyone to get my first win at Oschersleben. Now that's off my mind, I can concentrate on this weekend and then roll on next season!".
Ducati Corse also announces that it will be officially returning to the World Supersport Championship after a break of 3 years. The rider chosen to debut the brand-new Ducati 749R in this highly-competitive championship is 21 year-old Italian Lorenzo Lanzi.
Born in Cesena, Italy in 1981, Lanzi has set the European Superstock championship alight this year on a Team Rox Ducati 999S and is still a contender for the title, which concludes this weekend at Magny-Cours.
"I'm really enthusiastic about this opportunity because after a year without a ride in 2002, things started to take off for me this year in European Superstock and now to be a part of the factory Ducati World Supersport team next year is simply fantastic" commented Lanzi. "The 749R is a new bike and World Supersport is very competitive, but the bike is promising and with an experienced team like Ducati Corse, good results will come for sure".