Valencia: Ducati race notes

Convincing double debut win for Hodgson (Team Ducati Fila) and the Ducati 999 at Valencia. Valencia (Spain), Sunday 2 March: Britain's Neil Hodgson (Team Ducati Fila) took a convincing double win at Valencia today in the opening round of...

Convincing double debut win for Hodgson (Team Ducati Fila) and the Ducati 999 at Valencia.

Valencia (Spain), Sunday 2 March: Britain's Neil Hodgson (Team Ducati Fila) took a convincing double win at Valencia today in the opening round of the 2003 World Superbike Championship. The Spanish round marked the Superbike debut of the Italian manufacturer's latest creation, the Ducati 999, and Hodgson's two wins, which took his WSBK tally to 5, were the first time the Isle of Man resident has won races outside his home country.

Neil Hodgson.
Photo by Martin Lauricella.

In race 1 Hodgson got a slow start but then passed compatriot Toseland down the main straight. "There was a lot of wind out there today which made the races a bit more physical because you are leaning forward and using the back brake a lot to keep the front wheel down, which was quite scary" he declared. "The early stages of race 1 were quite an experience because you have to get used to the start again after six months of no racing. I was just looking at what everyone else was doing and then made my move." In race 2 Neil led from start to finish, smashing Bostrom's lap record on the way, to notch up 50 points in the first round of the season. "Fastest in every practice session, pole, lap record, double win on my worst track so I'm so pleased with everything. I made one mistake in race 2, when I was braking into the first corner with a back-marker on the inside. He moved to the outside and nearly pushed me off the track so I was screaming in my helmet, thinking it was all over."

Xaus slotted in behind Hodgson as the Brit took the lead in race 1 to finish second and then shadowed his Ducati Fila team-mate throughout race 2 to repeat the result. "Even though the bike is good and the tyres are perfect, all this weekend things have not been working exactly the way I wanted them to" declared Ruben. "The set-up was not 100% and half-way through the race I lost Neil, so I just settled for second place. There wasn't much I could do today about my Ducati Fila team-mate, who rode two excellent races. It's been a hard weekend for me with the front not quite right, but I came away with two seconds and 40 points, which is good for the championship."

RACE 1: 1. Hodgson (Ducati Fila); 2. Xaus (Ducati Fila); 3. Walker (HM Plant Ducati); 4. Toseland (HM Plant Ducati); 5. Laconi (Ducati NCR); 6. Martin (Ducati DFX); 7. Lavilla (Suzuki); 8. Pedercini (Ducati) etc. RACE 2: 1. Hodgson; 2. Xaus; 3. Toseland; 4. Walker; 5. Martin; 6. Lavilla; 7. Corser (Foggy Petronas); 8. Borja (Ducati DFX) etc.

POINTS: Riders - 1. Hodgson 50; 2. Xaus 40; 3. Toseland 29; 4. Walker 29; 5. Martin 21; 6. Lavilla 19. Manufacturers - 1. Ducati 50; 2. Suzuki 19; 3. Foggy 13; 4. Kawasaki 8; 5. Yamaha 5.

NEXT ROUND: Phillip Island (Australia), March 30th

Earlier in the morning 20-year-old Lorenzo Lanzi (Team Rox-Ducati Pisa) scored the Ducati 999's maiden win when the Italian took the chequered flag in round 1 of the European Superstock Championship.

-tdf-

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Neil Hodgson , Lorenzo Lanzi , Phillip Island