WSBK » 19 May 2003
Hodgson sinks four doubles in '03.
Neil Hodgson took Ducati's World Superbike victory total over the 200 mark at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza this weekend with another double win, his fourth of the year, in front of 71,000 spectators.
In glorious conditions, the Brit clinched win 200 when he took the chequered flag from Regis Laconi and Gregorio Lavilla.
''I had a two second lead on the last lap,'' said Hodgson, ''but then I got held up by the back-markers as we went through the chicane and I lost a lot of time. I then eased off towards the end to take the win but I didn't realise everyone else was so close behind me. Now that I've got this 200th win and Troy's record for six wins on the run at the start of the season out of the way, I feel a lot more relaxed for the second race''.
Hodgson then added another win to his total after a superb scrap in race two with Lavilla, which went down to the line. ''It was fun out there battling elbow to elbow at 190 km/h'' declared the #100, ''and hats off to Gregorio who rode a fantastic race. Frankie and Regis were also unbelievably aggressive but safe.
''I had no plan for race two, I was just lucky, and ended up in the right place at the right time. All sorts of things happened to me out there, the bike wasn't perfect at the front, I ran over the kerb at the chicane and then after a flying start I lost touch for a few laps. But I managed to focus on the race, get back with the leading group and win. I'm really happy I could get the 200th win for Ducati today''.
It was a difficult day for Hodgson's team-mate Ruben Xaus after his dramatic crash on Saturday. Ruben was declared fit to race but made contact with Chris Walker during the first lap of race one, recovering well to finish seventh. Race two went much better as the Spaniard battled for fifth with James Toseland for a number of laps before crashing out at the Ascari chicane on the penultimate lap.
''The whole weekend has been a nightmare'' commented Ruben. ''I just got started in the first race before Walker touched me and I went into the gravel trap. Then in race two I lost the front end at Ascari, it was my mistake. I was having problems with the brakes the whole race and I just went down. I thought I could get some points from this weekend, I'm still second in the championship but now I just need to put this one behind me, concentrate on the next races and score some points''.
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