Ben Bostrom is to partner the
already-confirmed Neil Hodgson in the Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin team
that will compete in next year's AMA Superbike Championship with factory
Ducati 999 bikes.
2006 will mark the second season in America's premier racing category for
Hodgson, 31 years old from Burnley, England. The former World Superbike
champion finished sixth in his debut AMA Superbike season, winning one race
at Road America and stepping onto the podium a further five times in the 10
round/17 race series.
Hodgson now has a great opportunity to make use of his learning year to aim
for the title and thus fulfil his ambition of becoming the only rider to win
the 'triple crown' of British, American and World Superbike titles.
"I'm really looking forward to the challenge in 2006" commented Neil. "I
know the 999 will be improved and now I understand how to approach AMA. It's
going to be tough to beat Mladin but I've studied everything hard this year
and I've got a plan for how to beat him! I really enjoyed working with Eric
and it will be equally great to work with his brother Ben .. It's just a
pity he's not better-looking!"
Bostrom, also 31 years old and born in Redding (California) in 1974, will
step onto a factory Ducati Corse machine again after a three-year gap in
which he rode for Honda in AMA Superbike and the World Superbike
championship. He returns home after one year on the world stage to take the
place of his younger brother Eric, who won four races with the Parts
Unlimited Ducati Austin 999 in the last two seasons of AMA racing.
"You know, this year was a tough one on the racetrack" declared Ben. "So I'm
real excited to be back with a factory that I've had so much success with in
the past. We've shared lots of good memories, Ducati and I, and I'm looking
forward to a strong season together, and to creating new memories with them."
Parts Unlimited Ducati Austin owner Terry Gregoricka commented on his team's
new line-up: "Neil had a great first season with us, winning one race and
always fighting hard throughout the season and I'm convinced he can
challenge for the title in 2006. Ben has had great success with Ducati in
the past and I feel sure he will remember that and get on the gas! His crew
chief Gary Medley has worked with him before and that's also sure to be an
advantage. I believe Neil and Ben will work well together as a team and
knowing each other will certainly help. 2006 is going to be even tougher
than this year but I am convinced that our two riders will go well and that
they can both win races throughout the season."
Ducati Corse Superbike director Paolo Ciabatti added: "We are officially
involved in the AMA Superbike Championship for a second year with the Parts
Unlimited Ducati Austin team and once again we will have two world-class
riders. The American market is very important to Ducati: our participation
in the AMA championship with a factory effort shows our strong commitment to
the series and is a key element of the company's marketing strategies in
this area of the world."