Ducati Fila riders Neil Hodgson and Ruben Xaus finished off the 2003 season in fine style with a win apiece in the final round of the World Superbike championship at Magny-Cours in France on Sunday.

The 2003 champion dominated race one to clinch his thirteenth win of the year on the Ducati 999 ahead of Xaus, while the Spanish rider took his seasonal victory haul to seven after Neil had crashed out on lap 21 of the second race.

"We have achieved our aim of winning the title in the first year of competition for the Ducati 999" declared WSBK team director Paolo Ciabatti. "In addition Ducati made a clean sweep of all 24 races, and the 999 picked up 20 of these so it has been a really successful season. A major contribution for our success this year has come from the support given by all of our technical partners, in particular Michelin and Shell Advance and special thanks must also go to Fila, the title sponsor of the team".

"I've had the best season in my life and I've thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the factory Ducati Fila team" declared Hodgson, who will join the MotoGP ranks next year. "It's a shame I won't be with them next year, even though I am pleased to be keeping my association with Ducati in another championship. It would have been fantastic to end this season on a high and win both the races here at Magny-Cours, but it wasn't meant to be so I'm not losing any sleep over it!

"I just lost the front end in race two while trying not to lose to Ruben but to be honest he was faster than me in a couple of sections and that was it".

"I think I had a nice race coming from eighth position on the first lap because it's not something you do every day!" commented Xaus. "In the first race it was difficult to pass [James] Toseland, he made a really good start but in race two as I knew I needed to move quicker. Again my start was bad and I just moved up through the field, my lap times were really good and my bike was perfect.

"The year has gone really well for me, I had a bad weekend in Monza which made me lose a bit of confidence in the next couple of races but that's racing, I am happy with second place in the championship and now I'm really getting used to winning".

 

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