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Sep 28, 2001

Ducati And Aprilia Preview Imola

From a Ducati press release:<BR><BR>WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP<BR>ROUND 13 – IMOLA (ITALY)<BR>September 28-30 2001<BR><BR>PREVIEW<BR><BR>The 2001 World Superbike Championship draws to a close at Imola's Enzo & Dino Ferrari Circuit with the final round of an enthralling season that has seen Ducati Corse make a clean sweep of both Riders' and Manufacturers' titles. Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) clinched the Riders' title in Holland, while Ducati won a record tenth Manufacturers' crown at the previous round in Germany. The race at Imola will be a triumphant homecoming for the Bologna-based constructor, whose factory lies just along the Via Emilia, and what better place to celebrate victory in the WSBK championship than at a circuit dedicated to another Italian motorsport legend, EnzoFerrari.<BR><BR>A PIECE OF HISTORY<BR>This weekend's final round is also special for another reason because 29 years ago the Imola circuit saw the unfolding one of the most important chapters in Ducati's history. In 1972 the Italian manufacturer took a sensational 1-2 win in the Imola 200 Miles race with Paul Smart heading home Bruno Spaggiari on special twin-cylinder Ducati 750 Imola Desmo bikes. The race changed the destiny of Ducati, which redefined its approach to racing and focussed its attention almost exclusively on competition reserved for production-based machines. The rest, as they say, is history, and Ducati's record in WSBK since the category's creation in 1988 is an extraordinary example of the company's outstanding racing heritage. For this occasion, the number 21 championship-winning Ducati 996R Infostrada of Troy Bayliss has been sprayed in a silver livery evoking Smart's 1972 bike and the Australian will be wearing special black leathers designed by Dainese for Imola. The 1972 Ducati 750 Imola Desmo will be on display in the paddock and both Smart and Spaggiari will make appearances at Imola.<BR><BR>With 369 points on the board, Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) cannot be caught by his rivals and the newly-crowned champion goes into the Imola race with all the pressure off and eager to add to his tally of six wins this year. "I still feel really good after winning the world championship three weeks ago", declared Bayliss. "It's a great achievement and everyone in the team is still happy but we're looking forward to this weekend and hopefully we'll get a good result. The silver bike looks really sparkling although I haven't seen it in the sun yet! It'll be a great race with everyone hoping to win, although I expect Colin to be the man to beat here".<BR><BR>A sensational end-of-season run by Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada) has seen the 23-year-old Spanish rider surge up the points table and confirm the expectations Ducati placed in him when they signed him up for a full WSBK championship season at the end of last year. "I'm just going out there to do the best I can in the final race of the year", said Xaus. "Obviously now that I've won a race, it's a weight off my shoulder, but it hasn't changed my mentality. I will be happy once again to finish on the podium and end my season on a high note".<BR><BR>Ben Bostrom (Ducati L&M) is also determined to leave his mark on the legendary Imola track. The Californian lies just 31 points behind his fellow-American Colin Edwards and with 50 points up for grabs, will be aiming to help bring about a Ducati 1-2. At Imola Ben will also receive a special prize from championship organisers SBK International, ‘Most Approachable Rider', voted by visitors to the official SBK website and the Paddock Show.<BR><BR>"I can't wait for Imola", declared Bostrom, "because I have to make up for the last two rounds, in particular the one at Assen when we<BR>never really got going. When you are used to finishing in the top 3, it's hard not to be disappointed when things don't go well. Sorry for the other guys out there, but I plan to win and that's the end of the story."<BR><BR>CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after 12 of 13 rounds): Riders<BR>1° BAYLISS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) 369 (2001 World Superbike Champion)<BR>2° Edwards (Honda) 317<BR>3° BOSTROM (DUCATI L&M) 286<BR>4° Corser (Aprilia) 264<BR>5° Hodgson (Ducati GSE) 254<BR>6° Chili (Suzuki) 225<BR>7° XAUS (DUCATI INFOSTRADA) 191<BR>8° Yanagawa (Kawasaki) 170<BR>9° Okada (Honda) 149<BR>10° Lavilla (Kawasaki) 147.<BR><BR>Manufacturers<BR>1° DUCATI 508 (2001 World Superbike Champions)<BR>2° Honda 369<BR>3° Aprilia 298<BR>4° Kawasaki 270<BR>5° Suzuki 241<BR>6° Yamaha 30<BR>7° Benelli 4.<BR><BR>THE IMOLA CIRCUIT<BR><BR>The need for speed has formed part of Imola's DNA since ancient times. Imola was called Forum Cornelii at the time of ancient Rome and there was already an amphitheatre for chariot racing in 80 BC. The current track took shape at the end of the 1940s. To create work for the depressed post-war economy, it was decided to build a series of public roads linking the Via Emilia, where the Rivazza curve can be found today, to the town of Codrigano and the Tosa curve. Four Imola motorsport enthusiasts (Alfredo Campagnoli, Graziano Golinelli, Ugo Montevecchi e Gualtiero Vighi) then decided to build a racetrack between the hills. This was followed by the enthusiastic dedication of Checco Costa, who went on to organise a series of major motorcycle racing events at a circuit that has since become one of the greatest racetracks in the world.<BR><BR>CIRCUIT RECORDS (no WSBK lap records)<BR>Lap Record, n/a<BR>Superpole, n/a<BR>Qualifying, n/a<BR>Italian Superbike, Casoli (Ducati) 1'54.272 (155.513 km/h) 1999TV COVERAGE<BR>Eurosport (pan-European – all times CET): 29/9 1100 Qualifying (live)<BR>30/9 0830 Superpole (delayed), 0930 Warm-up (live), 1145 Race 1 (Live), 2000 Race 2 (delayed).<BR><BR>INTERNET AUDIO & VIDEO ‘LIVE' COVERAGE<BR>Ducati fans world-wide can get a feel for WSBK action from Imola this weekend with ‘live' audio/video coverage from the Ducati Infostrada pit garage during qualifying. Exclusive ‘web-cam' video coverage, organised in collaboration with Motonline, will be broadcast on: www.ducati.com, sport.iol.it/ducati/index_ducati.jhtml and www.motonline.com. The first link-up will be during Friday qualifying at 1445 CET with the second during Saturday final qualifying at 1045 CET. The Ducati Corse ‘chat-line' will also offer Internet users the possibility of chatting live with newly-crowned World Superbike champion Troy Bayliss, who will answer questions directly from the pit garage. The ‘chat-line' will be operative at 1830 CET on Friday 28 September and can be accessed through www.ducati.com and www.iol.it.<BR><BR><BR>And now an Aprilia press release:<BR><BR> <BR> <BR><BR><BR>Aprilia Superbike Press Information<BR>Superbike World Championship 2001<BR>Round 13 - Imola (Italy) 28/29/30 September 2001<BR>Preview <BR><BR>Superbike makes its debut on the Santerno circuit: Sunday's arena for the final round of the 2001 Championship. Riders on the three official twin-cylinder RSV Mille bikes from Noale: Corser, Laconi and Antonello.<BR><BR>Imola will be hosting the final round of the 2001 season and the debut of Superbike on the track named after Enzo and Dino Ferrari. But if one takes a closer look at the annals of motorcycling history, Sunday's meeting could be termed a return to the "origins" of the sport. Indeed,what might be considered as the forerunners of Superbike made their first appearance here on 23 April 1972: the historical 200 Miles of Imola. Some of the legendary names of motorcycling appeared in that memorable event: Paul Smart, Bruno Spaggiari and Walter Villa.<BR><BR>"Modern" Superbikes have come to Imola after a long and hard-fought season. The 2001 title has already been awarded, but Sunday is still sure to offer a great show. The main aim of the three Aprilia riders is precisely to give the public all the excitement they've come for. Troy Corser and Regis Laconi, flanked by Noale's official test rider, Alessandro Antonello, are attempting to repeat their results in the early-summer trials. That was when Laconi made second-best time, a hair's breadth away from Edwards, with Corser 4th and Antonello 7th. Those two sweltering days in July brought in masses of information, which now needs to be used for this weekend's races. <BR><BR>The track: 4,933 metres - 10 left curves - 6 right curves - 358-metre finishing straight.<BR><BR>The records: no previous record.<BR><BR>Unofficial timings during the July tests:<BR>1st Edwards (Honda) 1'49.42<BR>2nd Laconi (Virgilio Aprilia Axo) 1'49.70<BR>3rd Okada (Honda) 1'49.72<BR>4th Corser (Virgilio Aprilia Axo) 1'49.93<BR>5th Bostrom (Ducati) 1'50.34<BR>6th Bayliss (Ducati) 1'50.52<BR>7th Antonello (Virgilio Aprilia Axo) 1'50.99<BR>8th Lavilla (Kawasaki)<BR>1'51.20<BR>9th Yanagawa (Kawasaki) 1'51,30<BR>10th Martin (Ducati) 1'51,86<BR>11th Parkes (Ducati) 1'52.49.<BR> <BR>