Silverstone: Ducati preview

DUCATI XEROX TEAM DUO AIM TO CONTINUE MONZA PROGRESS AT SILVERSTONE ROUND Silverstone (UK), Thursday 26 May: Silverstone Circuit in Northants is the venue for round 5 of the World Superbike Championship this weekend, but it won't be the ...


Silverstone (UK), Thursday 26 May: Silverstone Circuit in Northants is the venue for round 5 of the World Superbike Championship this weekend, but it won't be the legendary Formula 1 track that greets Ducati Xerox Team riders James Toseland and Regis Laconi as they attempt to build on their positive Monza form.

After last year's high-speed thriller around the one of the fastest circuits in the world, the reigning world champion and his French team-mate will line up on the grid on Sunday for 28 laps of the shorter 3.561 km (2.213 miles) International Circuit, used in the popular British Superbike championship. The main change is that instead of powering down Hangar Straight towards Stowe, the riders will now veer off at Becketts and head directly for Abbey before completing the rest of the considerably shorter airfield layout.

TOSELAND BACK ON TRACK: Toseland put his 2005 season back on track with a gritty ride to third place at Monza, immediately followed by a positive three-day test session at Mugello, and he now aims to produce more of the same in front of his home crowd.

"After Monza I'm really looking forward to every round from now on but in particular Silverstone", said Toseland. "All I can do is apologize to my British fans for my start to the season. For Silverstone and the home crowd I just want to prove exactly why I've got the number 1 on the bike. I didn't buy it, it was earned last year and I want to prove that we can keep it, especially as it's my first time back for a race in Britain since winning the title.

"I was a bit sceptical at first about racing on the short circuit because we haven't ridden it, but in fact there's not much there that we don't know so it should be OK" he added. "I really benefited from the Mugello test after Monza, because we tried a few things and I went 1.2 seconds quicker than last year so now I'm really looking forward to getting out there at Silverstone on Friday".

LACONI UPS THE PACE: Regis Laconi was unlucky not to win race 2 at Monza after leading until half-way round the final lap, but the 29-year-old Frenchman is confident that his Ducati team is on the right track for the rest of the season.

"I believe we are coming better and better now. At Valencia I was on the pace but unfortunately I didn't race, while at Monza I was very close to the win so I feel that the bike is getting more and more competitive as the season goes on", declared Laconi. "I was surprised to learn that we are racing on the short Silverstone circuit, but for me it doesn't matter if it is long or short, I will give everything as always to get a good result. It will be important in qualifying to get the bike set up right for the tight chicane, because we go through there more times in this year's race. Now the circuit is not so fast, so the settings will be different, but it will still be a great track to race on".

WSBK vs FOOTBALL ALL-STARS: On Thursday media day, Ducati Xerox Team's James Toseland, together with fellow Brit Chris Walker, championship leader Troy Corser, Aussies Chris Vermeulen, Karl Muggeridge and Andrew Pitt, and Ducati SC's Gianluca Nannelli, will take on a number of ex-Premiership footballers - including former England, Newcastle and Tottenham striker Les Ferdinand, and ex-player turned BBC Radio Five Live broadcaster Mark Bright - in a five-a-side friendly football match. The game will take place on a purpose-built inflatable pitch located inside the circuit. Afterwards the roles will be reversed and Ferdinand and Co. will be taken for a thrilling pillion ride around the world famous Silverstone circuit on the back of the Ducati Xerox 999 twin-seater, piloted by Dario Marchetti.

GUILD AWARD FOR TOSELAND: Further recognition for James Toseland's 2004 World Superbike championship victory will come at his home round when the Guild of Motoring Writers presents the 24-year-old from Sheffield with its 'Rider of the Year' award, relating to his title win last year. The original trophy, which spends 364 days a year locked in the Guild's display cabinet in the RAC at Pall Mall, London and on which James's name will be etched, is a vintage bike single cylinder head in silver, mounted on a plinth, while James will receive an engraved pewter tankard for his efforts. Previous winners of the award include Valentino Rossi and Carl Fogarty.

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Chris Walker , James Toseland , Troy Corser , Chris Vermeulen , Carl Fogarty , Karl Muggeridge , Gianluca Nannelli , Laconi Régis , Dario Marchetti