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England had its advantages for Neil Hodgson at Road America
AMA Superbike Championship, Road America Round 6 of 11
Hodgson Wins in the Rain on Saturday at Road America
Elkhart Lake, WI, June 4-5th - Eric Bostrom
and Neil Hodgson of the Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin team
will try to keep up the team's momentum this weekend as they
race their Ducati 999 Superbikes at the Road America AMA Superbike
doubleheader in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
the winner at the last event at Pikes Peak International Raceway,
took his first victory of the season with a final lap pass
after a race that saw him in the lead much of the event on
his Ducati 999. "We've improved how the bike works for
me all season long, and it was fantastic to win a race,"
said Bostrom, also the winner of a 2003 Superbike race at
Road America. "The 999 has always been a great bike but
we've really come a long way over the course of the year.
It would be naive to think we're finally finished or done
because we have to continue to work hard and make things even
better. The series is very competitive and you can never rest,
even if you win. That said, it will feel really good at Road
America if we can run strong again."
Hodgson is an unusual AMA Superbike rookie, having won the
World and British Superbike championships as well as being
an experienced Grand Prix racer. Neil, however, has never
raced at the 4.0-mile circuit and did not get to test at the
track. "I must say the circuit looks like it would be
really nice, but having never been there before, I can't really
say anything about it," said Neil. "I am looking
forward to racing the 999 there, and looking forward to a
still on a bit of an emotional high since Eric's victory at
Pikes Peak," said team manager Tom Bodenbach. "Everyone's
been working hard at the shop as usual, but after a win, you
seem to have a little extra. We're looking to continue or
progress at Road America. Hopefully, we'll have better luck
with both bikes this weekend so Neil and Eric can both run
near the front."
The green flag will drop on Saturday for the first Superbike
race of the weekend, with the second being held Sunday afternoon.
Located in the Wisconsin countryside, the 4.0-mile (6.43 kilometer),
14-turn Road America circuit is in many ways a European-style
track. There are three long straights for the powerful Superbikes
to reach top speeds, each with a 90 degree turn at the end
that prove to be great passing zones. Road America also features
turns like The Carousel and The Kink, which was altered for
last year's race to improve safety.
Road America is also celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2005.
Neil Hodgson Runs Away With Saturday's Race One in the Rain
Saturday June 4 - Neil Hodgson of the Parts
Unlimited Ducati Austin team won his first-ever AMA Superbike
race in Elkhart Lake Wisconsin on Saturday. Despite treacherous
conditions, the Isle of Man resident put in a passionate ride
and won the shortened race going away, winning by 27.420 seconds
on his Ducati 999. The former British and World Superbike
champion raced at an incredible pace in the rain but still
managed to keep his machine upright as other riders fell into
the Road America gravel traps.
really pleased to win this one because Road America is a difficult
race. This was a hard one with the conditions as they were.
During the final laps, the conditions were some of the worst
I've ever had to race in. I took a lot of risks early on and
all the way to the finish. I was aquaplaning up the front
straight right up until the end, and it was very tough. The
team did a great job changing tires, the bike, and everything
right before the race when it started to rain."
and his Ducati 999 were sliding around the course in a spectacular
fashion as the rains fell and the track became slicker as
the race progressed. Neil kept the Italian Desmo L-twin under
control and upright as his lead continued to expand. "When
the adrenaline is in your blood, you actually enjoy riding
like that," said Neil of his wild ride. "Maybe not
so much after you get off the bike after the race. The sliding
around was a combination of more rain and the tires wearing.
I saw 'plus 18' on my board about lap five. I thought to myself,
'I really need to slow down and not do anything stupid'. I
thought I did take it a little easier, but the next time around,
I saw a 'plus 27' or something." Hodgson continued to
pull away when the red flag flew as Neil began to work lap
10 and the race was declared finished.
got the job done in a very impressive way," said team
owner Terry Gregoricka. "He was unbelievable today. He's
ridden hard all season and it was great to see him out in
front and leading. As happy as we were, it was terrible for
us emotionally in the pits watching him sliding around the
track on TV as the laps counted down, mainly because the conditions
were so bad and he had a big lead. Congratulations to Neil
for getting his first win in the States. For the team, winning
two races in a row is a great accomplishment and we are very
Eric Bostrom had a disappointing day. Bostrom was quickest
in the pre-race warm-up and was in third place and charging
towards the front on the first lap. Unfortunately, another
rider collected Eric in a crash in Canada Corner. Eric rode
his Ducati 999 back to the pits but could not continue. "There's
really not much to say. We were very quick," said Bostrom,
who won a similar race at Elkhart Lake in the rain in 2003.
"It was game-on. I was ready to go. Obviously, I'm really
happy that Ducati and Neil could win for the team and I'd
like to congratulate them. As for us, we were feeling really
good about things after the wet session and were charging
hard in the race. I thought I had squared up Miguel (Duhamel)
to make the pass for second place, because I needed to get
by him. But he slowed up more than I thought and he ended
"Eric was doing a great job before that incident,"
said Gregoricka. "We're really disappointed for him because
he was riding really well and charging toward the front."
Race One Results
- 1. NEIL HODGSON (PARTS UNLIMITED DUCATI AUSTIN
999), 2. Mat Mladin (Suzuki), 3. Josh Hayes (Kawasaki), 4.
Ben Spies (Suzuki), 5. Marty Cragill (Suzuki), 6. Jake Zemke
(Honda), DNF ERIC BOSTROM (PARTS UNLIMITED DUCATI AUSTIN 999)
AMA Superbike Points (After
9 of 17 races) - 1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki) 288, 2. Ben Spies
(Suzuki) 268, 3. Aaron Yates (Suzuki) 239, 4. NEIL HODGSON
(PARTS UNLIMITED DUCATI AUSTIN 999) 237, ERIC BOSTROM (PARTS
UNLIMITED DUCATI AUSTIN 999) 204, 6. Miguel DuHamel (Honda)
was untouchable in the dry on Sunday.
Mladin Retuns to the Top on Sunday
Sunday, June 5th - Team Yoshimura Suzuki’s
Mat Mladin claimed his seventh AMA Superbike victory of the
year with a start-to-finish win in today’s Elkhart Lake
10th round at Road America in Wisconsin.
The five-time AMA Superbike Champion and current series leader
crossed the line on his GSX-R1000 almost 6.5 second clear
of team mate and current series number two Ben Spies with
Aaron Yates fifth on his Yoshimura Suzuki.
was a good race for us,” said Mladin from the podium.
“I’m glad it stayed dry for everyone and I hope
we put on a good show. This year the new Yoshimura Suzuki
GSX-R1000 is working really well for us and it’s a shame
that we had a wet race yesterday, though we still got on the
podium. I’d like to thank my crew because we’ve
had some issues this weekend and they got the GSX-R sorted
for us so we could get the win today.”
In Friday afternoon’s initial qualifying session, Mladin
took his 43rd career pole position and his sixth one of the
year by setting a track record-breaking best lap of 2.12:553
seconds. Team mates Spies and Yates were gridded second and
third respectively with Spies posting a best time of 2.13:345
and Yates a 2.14:235 in Saturday’s session.
16-lap Superbike race got started and then was almost immediately
red flagged from a downed rider. A complete restart resulted
in Mladin out front and he gradually created a gap and led
the whole race to take the win. “I got the holeshot
on the second start, but I was in the lead anyway so it doesn’t
matter,” said Mladin of the red flag.
Mladin, Spies got a good start on his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000.
For the first half of the race, he was in a solid fourth then
moved up into third. Then, on the last lap, he made an aggressive
pass and took second.
wasn’t so much that I was chasing down the guys in front
of me as I was trying to get away from the guys behind me,”
laughed Spies after the race. “I’d really like
to thank my guys for working so hard this weekend. I crashed
twice in yesterday’s Superbike race and I haven’t
made things easy on them.”
got a bad start after the red flag and was back in 12th place
on the first lap. But he pushed his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000
hard and made his way up through the field.
Honda's Jake Zemke put the Honda CBR1000RR on the 3rd step
of the podium in Sunday's race with teammate Miguel Duhamel
very nearly joining him. Zemke ran a strong second for the
entire race on the high-speed, four-mile track, finding new
speed in the new power-up engine of the Honda CBR1000RR. With
second place within sight, Zemke was balked by a lapped rider
allowing Ben Spies (Suzuki) the narrow opening he needed to
pull in front. Zemke struck back on the uphill run to the
flag, only to come up 0.455 seconds short.
"You know, I want to be racing with Mat (Mladin) for
a win, not racing for third place, said Zenke afterwards.
"But you know that's the way it goes and we got to take
it one step at a time and that's kind of what we've been doing
all year. And our results have been getting better and better
and we're getting closer and closer to the front every weekend.
Like I said, it's just really nice to be able to give the
crew this little bit of enjoyment for all their hard work.
Those guys put in some long hours and it's really tough at
times and it's just really nice to be able to be up here and
see all the smiles on their faces for all their hard work."
was heading a four-rider fight for third when he slowed dramatically
on the eighth of 16 laps. A freak mechanical gremlin caused
fuel from the overflow bottle to spray into his windscreen
and onto his
helmet visor. Unsure of the severity of the problem, Duhamel
pitted for quick repairs. He was credited with 22nd. "It's
an oversight because it's nothing major," Duhamel said.
"Everything on the bike was great. The bike was probably
the best we had all weekend."
Austin's Eric Bostrom fought for the podium on Sunday at Elkhart
Lake Wisconsin, finishing just short of making it as he finished
fourth on his Ducati 999. Bostrom was a part of a three rider
scrap for second but caught some bad breaks with lapped traffic
and was unable to make a last lap pass for position on Road
America's long straight as he had planned. Saturday's race
winner Neil Hodgson was 19th after a mechanical problem.
pretty happy with the direction things went," said Bostrom.
"We had better entry grip than we ever had before on
the 999. We struggled some with gearing, but overall the bike
went well at Elkhart. The second split was our best all weekend
and that had been where we were hurting, in the turns. Now
it's our strong point."
diced for second place and was in sight of the position, but
ended up fourth after having a rougher time through the backmarkers
than his rivals. "There was a shake-up between two riders
in front of me, so there was an opportunity to make up some
ground," said Bostrom, the winner at Pikes Peak last
month. "To work so hard for it and have the opportunity
disappear was frustrating. When we went into turn 11, I was
right on their heels. I was basically in position to make
a move in the last turn."
Bostrom could have benefited with one more lap in the race,
Neil Hodgson would have liked one fewer.
"Unfortunately, a belt broke on Neil's bike today,"
said team engineer Luca Ferraccioli. Hodsgon could not finish
the 16th and final lap of the race after running behind Bostrom
for most of the event.
only had a quarter of a lap to go," said a frustrated
Hodsgson, clearly wanting to back up his Saturday win with
another good finish. "After yesterday, I was so pleased
to win and wanted to have another good day today, but the
race was disappointing. I was pretty much near the limit in
the race." Hodgson is still in fourth place in AMA Superbike
the weekend will be remembered for Hodgson's first AMA victory.
Hodgson is the only man in the modern era to win in AMA Superbike,
British Superbike, and World Superbike.
will next race at Laguna Seca Raceway at the combined MotoGP/AMA
weekend on July 8-10.
1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki), 2. Ben Spies (Suzuki), 3. Jake Zemke
(Honda), 4. ERIC BOSTROM (PARTS UNLIMITED DUCATI AUSTIN 999),
5. Aaron Yates (Suzuki), 6. Josh Hayes (Kawasaki), 19th NEIL
HODGSON (PARTS UNLIMITED DUCATI AUSTIN 999)
(After 10 of 17 races) - 1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki) 325, 2. Ben
Spies (Suzuki) 300, 3. Aaron Yates (Suzuki) 265, 4. NEIL HODGSON
(PARTS UNLIMITED DUCATI AUSTIN 999) 249, 5. ERIC BOSTROM (PARTS
UNLIMITED DUCATI AUSTIN 999) 231, 6. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
Christina Chiabotto gets comforted before her ride by Ducati
CEO Frederico Minoli. Ducati
felt it was best to get all the smiling PR photos before going
out onto the track with Randy Mamola.
F1 STAR & MISS ITALY
TASTE SOME MotoGP ADRENALINE
Italian Grand Prix, Mugello, Race Day, Sunday June 5
2005 - Up-and-coming Red Bull F1 driver Tonio Liuzzi
was one of Randy Mamola's lucky passengers on the Ducati Marlboro
Team two-seater at sun-blessed Mugello this morning. Other passengers
included the reigning Miss Italy, Cristina Chiabotto, and Nelson
Piquet Junior, another bright young hope of the car world.
that Liuzzi and Piquet were up to some serious high-speed
riding, Mamola rode as hard as he could with the car racers.
"The only time I've ever ridden the two-seater harder
was when I had Luca Cadalora with me here, and he's a former
250 World Champion," said Mamola, a 13-time GP winner.
gets ready to show Randy what she had for lunch.
was delighted with his taste of MotoGP action. "I love
adrenaline and that was pure adrenaline," grinned the
24-year-old Italian. "It's a different kind of craziness
from F1, just awesome. It's incredible what these guys do
on bikes, especially when there's such a fine line between
going fast and crashing! The way Randy controlled the bike,
braking deep into corners, then having the thing sliding around
on the exit was incredible. We were so far over that I felt
like my face was on the ground, and the wind was so strong
on the straight that I thought we'd take off. Now I realise
the kind of kick that bikes can give you I'm going to buy
another road bike!"
Miss Italy reckons
her two-seater experience will stay with her for the rest
of her life. "It was a big emotion, even better than
I had expected, something I will never ever forget,"
said Chiabotto, from Turin. "Thanks to Ducati for this
amazing experience, thanks also to Randy, I'm proud to have
ridden with him, he was great!"
Piquet Junior, son of the former F1 World Champion, and a
contender in the 2005 GP2 championship, was similarly gobsmacked
by his experience. "I did a parachute jump last week
and I thought that was crazy but this was much worse!"
he smiled. "Just hanging on was really difficult. I can't
even imagine what it's like riding 15 seconds a lap faster
on your own."
than sidecar? Mamola is lobbying the FIM to keep MotoGP at
990cc, but to require carrying a passenger like in the World
Rally Championship. Miss Italy, however, turns up her nose
at that idea.