WSBK » 1 June 2003
Hodgson equals record with ninth win.
Once onto the tail of the Walker-Laconi battle, Toseland made short work of claiming a podium position by passing both riders in the space of a lap. The youngster was flying, lapping faster than anyone else on the track, but had run out of the laps he would have needed to close in and catch the leaders. Nevertheless a podium finish having been in the gravel at turn one was still a great achievement.
''I have never given up,'' Toseland insisted, ''I knew I was reasonably fast, and I rejoined not far behind the back of the pack, so I was able to get back up there quite quickly. A few people fell off too, which obviously helped!''
The battle for the lead continued right to the final corner, with Chili's earlier problems obviously not hindering his progress too much. Approaching the tight right-hander that closes out the Oschersleben lap, the Italian opted for a wide entry and tight exit, only to find Hodgson closing the door on any opportunity to pass. The frustration was clear to see, but Chili still congratulated the victor on his achievement.
''I tried to pass him at the last corner, but Neil braked very hard,'' he explained, ''I had the line, but he came back in and left me with no option but to back off the throttle.''
For Hodgson, the victory tied Colin Edwards' record of nine in a row, but he refused to be drawn on whether a tenth straight win was possible.
''It doesn't get any easier,'' he smiled, ''I didn't get a good start, but that is probably a good thing. My luck is really flying at the moment and, had I made a good start, I could have been taken down at the bottleneck. I can't believe that James got out of there - and to see him here [on the podium], well, I have to take my hat off to him.''
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