Ducati Austin riders Eric Bostrom
and Neil Hodgson come to Road America's Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader
event June 2-5, hoping to return Ducati to the prominence it once
enjoyed at the classic road course in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Bostrom has a
renewed sense of confidence coming off his first victory of the season
on May 22 at Pikes Peak International Raceway while Hodgson should feel
at home on the wide-open, four-mile Road America circuit, which harkens
back to many of the European Grand Prix tracks where Hodgson raced to a
World Superbike Championship.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of AMA Superbike racing at Road
America. The track is one of the best attended races on the calendar and
has been the site of some of the most memorable races in the history of
Ducati dominated the Superbike races at Elkhart Lake in the 1990s.
Riders such as Doug Polen, Pascal Picotte, Alessandro Gramigni, Mat
Mladin and Anthony Gobert gave the Italian marque six wins at Road
America in the '90s. Since that time Ducati has fallen on hard times at
Road America, going winless in the last ten AMA Superbike races there.
This year presents arguably the best chance Ducati has had in years to
regain the top spot on the high-speed circuit.
Bostrom, who won at the track in 2003 when he was with Kawasaki, is
fresh off a dramatic last-lap pass victory in Colorado a week and a half
"That was definitely a sweet win," said Bostrom of his Pikes Peak
victory. "We finally got a win for Ducati. We have a better feel for the
motorcycle now. We've had ups and downs, but the team has worked hard
and got the bike working well for me. With the competition, racing AMA
Superbike is always going to be a challenge but we have some momentum
going into Road America."
Bostrom's victory in the most recent round placed him in a tie with Doug
Polen for ninth on the all-time AMA Superbike wins list.
Hodgson raced World Superbike and MotoGP before coming to the AMA series
this year. The British rider has never raced at Road America. However,
unfamiliarity with the course didn't prevent Italian Alessandro Gramigni
from taking a win for Ducati in his first visit to the Wisconsin circuit
in 1996. Hodgson has earned four podium finishes so far this season, so
he's shown the speed it takes to win and would love nothing more than to
score his first AMA victory this weekend.
"Every morning I watch the video of last year's race," said Hodgson on
his method of learning the long four-mile circuit. "It looks like a
wonderful place. It's a proper racing circuit and I think it will suit
the strengths of our Ducati quite well. We've been down a little this
year on acceleration, but the top speed of the Ducati is good and that
will be a factor on the long straights. It would be a dream come true to
win this weekend."
The Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader marks the halfway mark in the 2005 AMA
Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited season. Australian sensation Mat
Mladin leads the championship coming into Road America. The five-time
AMA Superbike champ is a three-time winner at Road America and just
polished off the best first half-season of racing in his 10 seasons of
AMA racing. If Mladin scores victory in both rounds of this weekend's
doubleheader he would match Miguel Duhamel's record of five AMA
Superbike wins at Road America.
So far 2005 is the year of Suzuki in AMA Superbike. Second and third in
the standings are Mladin's Yoshimura Suzuki teammates Ben Spies and
Aaron Yates. Spies will make his first Superbike appearance at Road
America. The Superbike rookie has already scored a win giving him the
distinction of winning in every category of AMA road racing, something
only three other riders have accomplished. Yates has scored five
second-place finished this season, yet is seeking his first Superbike
victory in nearly two years. Suzuki riders hold six of the top-10 spots
in the championship this year.
Ten years ago Miguel Duhamel scored his first AMA Superbike victory at
Road America. Since then the 1995 AMA Superbike champ has become the
winningest AMA Superbike rider at Elkhart Lake with a total of five
victories. Duhamel has twice swept doubleheaders at Road America, but
Honda is enduring a rough season thus far. Duhamel is the top Honda
rider in the series at mid-season - he's ranked sixth and has yet to
score a podium finish. Yet despite the tough year in Superbike Duhamel's
expertise at Road America could pay off when the green flag drops this
Marty Craggill is the top ranked privateer rider in AMA Superbike. The
Mladin Motorsports Suzuki rider has scored top-10 finishes in all but
two of the eight rounds leading up to Road America. Jordan Suzuki's
Steve Rapp - whose spectacular Road America crash a few years ago was
caught by a photographer and featured in Sports Illustrated - and
KWS/Millennium Suzuki's Lee Acree are two other support team riders
ranked in the top 10.
Both of Road America's Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader races will be
televised on SPEED Channel starting with Saturday's Superbike event
being televised at 3 p.m. EST on Sunday, June 5. Live coverage of
Sunday's Superbike final begins at 5 p.m. EST.
The Road America weekend will be packed with racing action. In addition
to the normal schedule of AMA Superbike Championship road racing events,
the facility will also host the opening round of the 2005 AMA Supermoto
Championship at Road America's Briggs & Stratton Motorplex on Saturday,