Phillip Island (Australia), Thursday 31 March: The second of the two
overseas rounds of this year's World Superbike Championship takes place this
weekend at the Phillip Island circuit, situated south of Melbourne on the
State of Victoria's spectacular Bass Coast. The opening round in Qatar one
month ago saw Ducati Xerox Team riders Régis Laconi and James Toseland meet
with alternating fortunes, as the Frenchman took home a third and a second
place in the two races, while his British team-mate had to settle for two
The Phillip Island track has an entirely different layout to the
desert sands of Losail, but both Laconi and Toseland are relishing the
challenge as it is a fast and flowing circuit where rider ability can make
all of the difference. 29-year-old Laconi knows that he is capable of
producing a winning performance at the 4.4 km track, having claimed the
first of his seven victories in 2004 here one year ago.
"I was very happy about the result of the first race because we worked
very hard during the winter with Ducati to try to be fast" declared Laconi.
"Now that all the factories are back, it has become even harder for us to
win. The result at Qatar was good but we still have more work to do to be
"Last year things went quite well for me here but I only won one of
the races, while in the other I crashed out. For me Phillip Island is a
track where the rider can change a lot of things on the bike to improve the
settings and performance and for this reason our rider motivation is always
high at this circuit.
"Maybe maximum engine performance isn't the thing that counts the most
at Phillip Island because it's more important to get the bike set up right,
in particular for the last part. As the track is difficult, the racing is
always fantastic and I've always gone well here. Hopefully I will have a
good result and maybe even get my first win of the year this weekend".
24-year-old Toseland finds himself in the unenviable position of
trying to recapture his 2004 form after a spate of crashes in testing at
Qatar and Valencia left him battered and bruised. A couple of weeks rest
since the Spanish test has given the reigning champion an opportunity to
focus on the task of putting together a good result this weekend.
"I had a difficult round at the first race in Qatar, where I had a
massive crash. I wasn't injured but I did feel a bit battered about",
declared Toseland. "Now I've had a chance to go back home and sort my head
out a bit, I'm now looking forward to this second round at Phillip Island,
where you'll see me as determined as ever.
"We had a good race here last year although hopefully you won't see as
much tyre-smoking from me! Phillip Island always produces exciting racing
and those last two curves are quite demanding on the tyres. I've been fast
round there in the past, and after the Valencia testing we have found a
decent setting on the bike, so I will go out there and hopefully have a bit
more luck than we had have so far this season".