Laconi and Toseland (Ducati Fila) back to Italy for Riviera thriller Misano Adriatico (Italy), 15 April 2004: After a couple of exciting races in Australia, World Superbike returns to European soil for round 3 of the championship at the Misano...
Laconi and Toseland (Ducati Fila) back to Italy for Riviera thriller
Misano Adriatico (Italy), 15 April 2004: After a couple of exciting races in Australia, World Superbike returns to European soil for round 3 of the championship at the Misano Adriatico circuit on Italy's sun-kissed Adriatic Riviera. Switched from its regular June slot to mid-April, the race at the twisty, anticlockwise Misano track always produces a classic encounter, with close battles guaranteed to thrill the thousands of Ducati fans who turn up to the resort venue.
Regis Laconi returned from Phillip Island with a first win under his belt, and the 28-year-old Frenchman is anxious to give his championship challenge some momentum as it enters the next phase of four successive European events.
"I only like the first part of the Misano track, in particular the Curvone" declared Laconi. "The last part is difficult and the two chicanes are very slippery. Things will be different this year because it won't be as hot racing in April as it usually is so that will affect the set-up a bit. At Misano you have to find good grip on the rear because you are on your side a lot in the long left-hand corner.
"The only thing I can do is win both races because I am not happy with my start to the season. I know I am fast, I don't crash all the time, just a few small mistakes in a season are acceptable but that's all. At the moment the other guys are not so far ahead in the points, but I would feel better if I was up there with them."
James Toseland, currently holding a five-point lead over Pierfrancesco Chili (PSG-1 Ducati), claims he has finally got to grips with the difficult Misano track, where his best result is last year's second place. "Misano is not a long track but it is a technical and challenging one" declared 23-year-old Toseland. "The most critical point are the three fast lefts leading onto the back straight, where if you get it right you can knock half-a-second off your lap time. The last section however is not good, because of the tight chicane and the surface change, where it is bumpy and not 'grippy' at all.
"We battled with the set-up in Australia and I feel much happier now with the feeling. We've got the baseline set-up for the 999 and it's just a question of tweaking it now here and there. I will be quite happy with two podiums but I've got everything I need to win."
50 YEARS OF DUCATI SUCCESS FOR FARNE'.
A special commemorative plaque will be awarded to long-time Ducati rider and race engineer Franco Farnè for 50 years of success with the Italian manufacturer. Bologna-born Farnè started working in Ducati in 1951 and soon made his name for the company as test-rider, before notching up a series of international wins in the 1950s and 1960s on Ducatis. He was chief engineer in all of Ducati's pre-Superbike sporting exploits, including the 1972 Imola win and Endurance racing, as well as Mike Hailwood's triumph in the 1978 Isle of Man TT race. In Superbike, Farnè was team manager for the factory Ducati team that won eight Constructors' titles in the 1990s. Since 2001 he has worked for Stefano Caracchi's NCR Ducati satellite outfit. The award will be handed to Farnè by fellow Ducati engineering legend Gianluigi Mengoli in the Ducati Fila hospitality unit on Saturday after Superpole.
POINTS (after 2 of 11 rounds): (Riders) 1. Toseland 61; 2. Chili 56; 3. McCoy 55; 4. Vermeulen 55; 5. Haga 43; 6. Borciani 43 ... 10. Laconi 25. (Manufacturers) 1. Ducati 100; 2. Honda 55; 3. Petronas 42; 4. Kawasaki 27; 5. Suzuki 18; 6. Yamaha 13.
CIRCUIT INFO: Name: Autodromo di Santamonica. Length: 4.060 km. Pole Position: Left. Corners Left/Right: 4/4. Finish Line Length: 510 m.
STATISTICS: Best lap: Kocinski (Ducati) 1'34.296 (1996). Lap record: Yanagawa (Kawasaki) 1'33.494 (1997). Superpole: Bayliss (Ducati) 1'33.525 (2002). Race Distance: 2 x 25 laps/101.500 km
2003 RESULTS: Race 1 - 1. Xaus (Ducati Fila); 2. Toseland (HM Plant Ducati); Laconi (NCR Ducati). Race 2 - 1. Xaus; 2. Hodgson (Ducati Fila); 3. Chili (PSG-1 Ducati).
TV COVERAGE: Eurosportnews (pan-Europe, via satellite): Sunday 18 April, 1200-1645 SBK Race 1 + SS + SBK Race 2 (live); Eurosport (pan-Europe, via satellite) 0015-0045 highlights. La 7 (Italy): Saturday 17 April, 1710-1815 Superpole (delayed). Sunday 18 April, 1600-1830 SBK Race 1 + SS + SBK Race 2 (delayed).