The Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin team
heads to California Speedway in Fontana, California, for the third race
meeting of the season this weekend. Neil Hodgson is currently second in the
AMA Superbike points on the basis of two second place finishes and is
looking to close ground at the 2.3-mile circuit. Eric Bostrom is aiming to
improve his 2005 fortunes at a track he favors. Bostrom finished second in
both Cal Speedway races last year and enjoyed a solid test on his Ducati 999 Superbike earlier this month.
"I know Fontana will be better for us," says Bostrom. "Fontana's going
to be good. The test went well and the race is going to go even better.
We've been trying a lot of different things out on the bike and I liked how
the front felt at Barber when we chose some stiffer settings. I'm just going
to put the past behind me and look to run up front at the California
Speedway. The Ducati 999 seems to suit me well at that track."
"I'm confident Eric will do well at Fontana," says team engineer Luca
Ferraccioli. "He was second in both the races last year and was very good at
the test. He's been making progress and is working well with the team on
improving his lap times."
So far, Neil Hodgson and Ducati have proven to be the strongest
competition for the factory Suzuki squad this season at the front end of the AMA Superbike pack. Despite his newcomer status in the US, Neil has shown consistency in learning the tracks, then coming through with quality results in the races. Despite a virtual washout on Friday at Barber that limited his track time, Neil was back on the podium by the end of the weekend.
Hodgson says the team made headway for Sunday's Barber race when a
setup change helped make the 999 more manouverable in the tighter sections
of the track. "We made the bike go a lot faster through the flip-flop bends.
I was really happy with that and I was pleased with how the bike turned. If
nothing else, we learned something (at Barber) that might help us at other
tracks," says Hodgson, the 2003 World Superbike champion.
The Fontana race will be the closest the 31-year-old Briton has to a
"home" race this season, his first year in AMA competition. Hodgson is
staying in Laguna Beach this season when he's not racing at the track. Neil
has quickly become a fan favorite in his short time in the US.