Phillip Island: Ducati race notes

Hodgson and Xaus keep up Ducati Fila winning record with double win in Australia. Neil Hodgson and Ruben Xaus kept up Ducati Fila's winning streak with a 1-2 triumph in both Australian rounds of the World Superbike Championship at Phillip ...

Hodgson and Xaus keep up Ducati Fila winning record with double win in Australia.

Neil Hodgson and Ruben Xaus kept up Ducati Fila's winning streak with a 1-2 triumph in both Australian rounds of the World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island.

Hodgson battled with Chili (PSG-1 Ducati) in the early laps of race 1, but when the Italian dropped out with engine problems on lap 5, he maintained a healthy cushion to the chequered flag. "I really wanted to win this race as a tribute to Barry Sheene, who passed away recently", declared Neil. "I just wanted to fly, lead and not let anyone attack, so I was surprised when Chili came underneath me at the hairpin. I was pleased that he was there, no one wants to be on their own in a race, and when Chili dropped out I was disappointed, but I wasn't going to roll back the throttle to make a show. I continued at the same pace and went for it."

In race 2, Hodgson was unable to pull out much of a lead from a group of six riders and then had an exciting scrap for the win with team-mate Xaus over the last eight laps. "I tried to break everyone early on, got a bit of a lead, stayed consistent with a fast pace but then Ruben started chipping away" he added. "When he got close I decided to have a bit of a rest, that was my cunning plan. I knew from all the other races today that everyone who led out of the last corner won so that was in my mind at the end. My bike was so fast today so I thought that if I could do that, then I would win."

Xaus was involved in a superb scrap with Lavilla until lap 20 of race 1, when the Suzuki rider was forced to slow the pace due to tyre problems, leaving Ruben in a comfortable second. "I did a really bad start but took things calm during the race" said Ruben. "I was having a good battle with Gregorio and this was good for me and for the championship."

Race 2 saw Ruben work his way up the field again to catch leader Neil on lap 14 but he was unable to overhaul his team-mate as they flashed across the line separated by 70/100ths of a second. "That race was really good. I saw that Neil wasn't going so fast because its difficult to set a pace when you're on your own. When I passed him I tried to go but he broke my rhythm with different lines in some corners and then it was impossible to pass him at the end of the race. At the last lap I tried at Honda corner but Neil braked really hard and closed the door and that was it. My bike was perfect today, a big thanks for my mechanics who have worked enough this weekend for the rest of the year."

Ducati Anniversary Celebration

Hodgson's victory today took on special importance for Ducati as it came on the 50th anniversary of the Italian manufacturer's first ever victory in a competitive race. On 30 March 1953 in fact Silvio Malaguti won the first leg of the 1st Moto Giro d'Italia 1953 from Bologna to Rome (443 kms) in the 50cc category of the up to 75cc class. The racing debut in the Moto Giro that year saw Ducati finish an overall second and third.

<pre> Top 3 race results:

Race One 1. N Hodgson GBR Ducati 1'33.895 2. R Xaus ESP Ducati 1'34.600 3. G Lavilla ESP Suzuki 1'34.218

Race Two 1. N Hodgson GBR Ducati 1'34.046 2. R Xaus ESP Ducati 1'33.813 3. P Chili ITA Ducati 1'34.182

POINTS (after 2 of 12 rounds):

Riders: 1. Hodgson 100 2. Xaus 80 3. Walker 48 4. Lavilla 44 5. Martin 41 6. Toseland 40

Manufacturers: 1. Ducati 100 2. Suzuki 44 3. Petronas 32 4. Kawasaki 18 5. Yamaha 7

-df-

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Neil Hodgson , Ruben Xaus , Phillip Island