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AMA - Ben Bostrom Fights For Top Spot at Daytona Test On His Return to Ducati - December 13th 2005

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    Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin racers Ben Bostrom and Neil Hodgson tested at Daytona International Speedway December 10-12. Both riders shook down their Ducati 999 Superbikes in the first off-season test for the team, with Ben second quickest overall.

    Although Sunday's track time was cancelled because of rain, both riders lapped the famed American speed bowl on Saturday and Monday in cool conditions.

    Bostrom, a former Ducati racer in both AMA and World Superbike competition, made his debut with the Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin team at the test. He was the top man on the time sheets when he completed his work and second quickest when the day had ended. "I loved the bike from the first laps on Saturday. The Ducati 999 was just how I like a race bike, very firm and responsive. I could feel every little change we made to the settings. It was good at the test, but we really haven't pushed the limits with it yet. We made some small changes to the suspension and it just felt right to me. I'm excited about the new season ahead of us and I think the lap times showed that."

    Ben went down late on Monday but was unhurt. "I had a crash at the end of the day. It was a small crash for the rider but a big crash for the bike, unfortunately. My foot slipped off the brake pedal at the slowest corner of the track and down I went. I locked up the front," he said.

    Bostrom's best lap was 1m37.849s, well below the existing lap record at the revised three-mile track in his first ride on the Ducati 999 Superbike. "It was interesting to ride the 999 after racing for Ducati while this bike was on the drawing boards a few years ago. I can tell the factory used the data and information us racers gave them to develop the 999. The bike is fantastic."

    Neil Hodgson was fourth quickest with a lap of 1m38.707s. The former World Superbike champion from England was able to slice his lap times late in the day as he improved in the difficult turn one at Daytona. "The test was good for me, but obviously it is a bit threatening when your team-mate is quicker than you," said Hodgson. "It's early days, though, and we managed to cut our times by the end of the test. Still some way to go for us, but we're getting there. My comfort level at this track is definitely improved. We were second last year in the race, but I feel more comfortable here already with what we accomplished."

    "We are very glad Ben was immediately on the pace. He hasn't ridden a Ducati in many years and had never ridden a 999. Neil struggled some but in the last 40 minutes was able to up his pace," said Paolo Ciabatti of Ducati Corse. "I think it is a good beginning. We have a lot of new personnel this year. We have a good harmony in the team and they got along very well. We are happy at this stage and want to see what we do at the next tests."

    Lap Times;

  1. 1. Ben Spies (Suzuki) 1m37.309s
  2. 2. Ben Bostrom (Ducati) 1m37.849s
  3. 3. Aaron Yates (Suzuki) 1m38.371s
  4. 4. Neil Hodgson (Ducati) 1m38.707s
  5. 5. Jake Zemke (Honda) 1m39.226s
  6. 6. Roger Hayden (Kawasaki) 1m39.334s