Hodgson and Xaus take a win each

Published: 14 October 2003

The Fila Ducati team has taken the spoils at the last World Superbike race of the season with both Neil Hodgson and Ruben Xaus taking a win each.

The first race saw Hodgson lead throughout most of the 23 laps, taking the hole shot and keeping the top spot right to the line only briefly relinquishing it to HM Plant Ducati rider James Toseland on the first lap.

Xaus was the only real threat to the world champion but he struggled to get past Toseland and in to second place so it wasn’t until lap nine that he had a clear run at his teammate, by which time Hodgson was already well out in front. Xaus wasn’t letting go though and proceeded to hunt down Hodgson, crossing the line less than half a second behind.

With a Fila Ducati 1-2 it would have been a HM Plant Ducati 3-4 as well but Gregorio Lavilla managed to slip his Suzuki GSX-R1000 under Toseland on lap 19 to take fourth place behind Toseland’s teammate Chris Walker.

Race two was almost a re-run of the first race with Hodgson leading Toseland, Xaus and Walker, but this time Xaus managed to get passed Toseland earlier and the two factory Ducatis proceeded to pull away from the field.

After several failed attempts Xaus finally managed to pass his teammate, but Hodgson was so determined to take back the lead that he pushed that little bit too hard and lost the front end. He was uninjured and was running to pick up the 999 before it had even stopped sliding but he couldn’t get it started and ended his last WSB race walking back to the pits.

Xaus was so ecstatic about taking the last win of the season that he got carried away with his victory celebrations and crashed his 999 as well, leaving him to be pushed half way round the circuit back to pit lane.

The HM Plant Ducati riders had an interesting ride as well. Toseland started the race fourth in the championship but when third placed Regis Laconi had to drop back in to the pits to replace a bad tyre he saw his chance to move up a position. He had to take third in the race to get enough points to make the switch so Walker sat in fourth and didn’t make any moves on his teammate. But when Hodgson slid out with three laps to go Toseland was left in second and Walker was free to go for it. Toseland wasn’t giving up so easily though and despite the pair exchanging a lot of paint he managed to hang on to his position leaving Walker to take third.

Troy Corser almost managed to get the Foggy Petronas team a top ten finish in the championship. He drew level on points with Mauro Sanchini in tenth place after taking eighth in race one but proceeded to crash on cold tyres in the warm up lap for race two dropping him down to 12th overall.

British wildcard Leon Haslam failed to finish the first race but made up for it in race two taking his Renegade Ducati 998 to sixth place behind Australian Steve Martin.

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