The World Superbike Championship heads to the legendary Autodromo di Monza track close to Milan for the fourth round of this year's championship, which could see home heroes Ducati reach a historic milestone.

The high-speed track, set amidst the splendid greenery of Monza's parkland area, is always the scene for epic, slipstreaming battles and this year promises to be no exception, with Team Ducati Fila duo Neil Hodgson and Ruben Xaus taking on the rest of the field with their 999 Factory '03 bikes, which will be making its first race appearance on Italian ground.

Hodgson has a 100% record so far this year, taking a brace of wins at each of the three rounds in Spain, Australia and Japan. The British rider is currently dominating the championship with 150 points and aims to keep up the record at a circuit where he loves racing.

"Monza has a lot of history and is a really cool place," declared Neil. "It's always difficult here because the bike must be stable, not nervous, for the high speeds but then you need to set it up to be nervous through the chicanes so it's all a bit of a compromise. We did some Michelin tyre testing at Ladoux and I've found something to make the bike stable under braking, that's what this place is all about. It feels like home to me and I know the Italian fans will be devastated if I don't win!"

Xaus has yet to score a win this year but a series of runner-up places means he is second in the championship on 106 points.

"Monza's a great place to be," smiled the Spaniard. "The atmosphere is great, it's a really fast track, and the races always offer plenty of slipstreaming action. My best position at Monza was a podium finish in a Supersport race, so I really want to win here and score my first win of the season on Sunday. Monza sees the start of the European races and the championship really gets underway here."

At the last round in Japan, Hodgson took Ducati's all-time World Superbike win total to 199, so the first of Sunday's two Monza races could see the Italian manufacturer reach the 200 mark.

This remarkable figure is more than all the other manufacturers in WSBK put together, and fans can rest assured that Hodgson, Xaus - together with the likes of HM Plant riders James Toseland and Chris Walker - will be going all out to claim their place in Ducati history.