WSBK » 11 November 2004
2005: Japan to topple Italy?
But since his move from Foggy Petronas Racing, he believes Ducati will have a very tough time next season after dominating the World Superbike series since its formation in 1988 by taking the manufacturers title 13 times in the past 17 years and for the last seven years consecutively.
“It is probably going to be the year for the four-cylinder,” continued Corser. “It has been a lot of years since they have won, now its 1000cc and higher RPMs, it is going to be a bit more difficult for Ducati than it has been in the past.”
Gerrit Ten Kate, the Honda-team boss, also believes that this season was tough for Ducati, but with renewed Japanese interest predicts 2005 the year of reckoning for the four-cylinder.
“This year they were already sweating with us,” explained Gerrit. “I think next year is going to be a hard year for Ducati. I think with Suzuki and Yamaha coming back it will be a lot harder for us as well.”
Even World Superbike champion James Toseland admitted that Ducati didn't have it all their own way.
“Ducati nearly got caught out this season,” he said. “They thought they were going to walk away with the championship with no problems. Then all of a sudden a certain Chris Vermeulen and a certain Fireblade came along.
“All these people all of a sudden cropped up challenging (Fila Ducati) in a straight line where not many people have got passed a factory 999 before in previous years.”
But it is not all doom and gloom for the fans as Ducati are sure not to go down without a fight.
“I know Ducati are not going to lay down,” commented Troy Corser. “They're going to bring something out next year and from what I hear it has improved a little in power.”
Of course the Fila Ducati team already have the advantage of having a years development fuelled directly by the factory. The data gathered this year will also help significantly next season getting the most from the practice sessions enabling the riders to fine-tune their set-up, whereas the Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki riders will be approaching each round with a clean set-up sheet.
Even if Ducati do not have it their own way in 2005, the planned release of the MotoGP derived V-four road bike at the end of 2005 is sure to be homologated for Superbike racing for 2006, giving Ducati a new lease of life in the years that follow, albeit a four-cylinder one.
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