Ducati confirms factory ride for Hodgson
Ducati has just confirmed that Neil Hodgson will leave GSE to take up the reins as its number one factory WSB rider at the end of this season.
In a statement Ducati’s Paulo Ciabatti, the man charged with heading up its new " Superbike Racing Unit " , said: " Our main aim is to continue Ducati’s winning tradition in WSB. In 2003 we will run two riders. Neil Hodgson will move to the factory team, while contracts with the other rider are still being defined. "
With Troy Bayliss off to ride its V4 GP machine, possibly taking either Ruben Xaus or Ben Bostrom with him, Ducati has rewarded the British rider, currently third in the championship, for his hard work over the last two years.
As revealed in the latest issue of MCN, out June 19, Hodgson will use the newly developed Ducati 999, with its double-sided swingarm and sleeker fairing.
GSE will retain its favoured status as a satellite of the official squad, and it will run 2002 Testastretta machines next season, with full technical support from the factory. James Toseland looks likely to take over as the squad’s number one rider under Darrell Healy’s management, but there’s no word yet as to who, if anyone, will fill the vacant slot at GSE.