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Sep 7, 2001

Ducati's View Of Superbike Reality Heading Into This Weekend's World Superbike Race At Assen

From a Ducati press release:<BR><BR>WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP<BR>ROUND 12 – ASSEN (NED)<BR>7-9 September 2001<BR><BR>PREVIEW<BR><BR>One week after Oschersleben, World Superbike heads to the daunting, ultra-fast Van Drenthe TT Circuit at Assen in the Netherlands and Ducati Corse arrives at the penultimate round of the championship after clinching a record tenth Constructors' title in Germany, its fourth on the run.<BR><BR>With 100 points still up for grabs, the situation is hotting up in the battle for the Riders' crown, where Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada) saw his 53-point lead over reigning champion Colin Edwards (Honda) reduced to 24 after he recorded his first DNF this year. "We had a clutch problem in Oschersleben but sometimes you've got to put these things behind you and continue", declared Bayliss. "I enjoy riding around Assen, whether it's dry or wet and I'm looking forward to this weekend. I've only been here once and I had good intentions last year but I probably tried too hard and got undone a couple of times, but this time round it's going to be different. Every time I come away I try and win but when I can't, I just take what I can get. The plan is to get good points and go to the last round with a better lead than what I've got now".<BR><BR>Another talking-point in Germany was the emerging talent of ‘rookie' team-mate Ruben Xaus (Ducati Infostrada), who made it onto the podium and then triumphed in the second race. The 23-year-old is the first Spanish rider to win a WSBK race and with interest in Spain at an all-time high, Xaus is aiming for another prestigious result at a circuit where he tasted victory in the Supersport race last year. "For sure, my races at Oschersleben were incredible, it's nice and I want to repeat it as soon as possible. It's good to have Troy, Colin or Ben next to me on the podium and I want to get more used to it", commented Xaus. "I will just try and do the same here at Assen, concentrate, be relaxed and do what I can do – ride my bike as well as possible. I like all tracks, the weather will probably be not so good but I will try and improve on my eighth position in the championship this weekend".<BR><BR>After five wins on the run, Ben Bostrom (Ducati L&M) scored a podium finish in race 1 at Oschersleben and he followed this up with fourth place in the second race. The 27-year-old from Redding, California is 43 points adrift of Bayliss at the top of the table, but just 19 behind Edwards and will be doing everything possible at Assen to help Ducati take a possible 1-2 finish in the Riders' championship. "I rode well at Oschersleben, the bike set-up was really good but we were just missing one key ingredient and were not quite there", said Bostrom. "Last year I was enjoying the tracks and learning, this year I'm serious and I want to go out there and win. If I can't win here at Assen, I'll try and finish on the podium. I haven't done too well in the wet so far, but if it rains, I'll push hard and try not to lose my grip on third place in the championship".<BR><BR><BR>FOGARTY AWARD<BR><BR>On Sunday, four-times World Superbike champion Carl Fogarty is to be presented with a special award by the Assen TT Circuit. The award will be made to the Ducati legend, who won 12 out of the 16 Assen races he took part in, and Carl will also make a lap of honour of the circuit on a Ducati Monster Fogarty street-bike.<BR><BR>THE ASSEN CIRCUIT<BR><BR>The TT circuit, 2 km south-west of Assen, has been the home of the Dutch Round of the World Superbike Championship since 1992. Two years ago, it undertook a full modernisation of its facilities and the second of its three scheduled phases is now completed. The circuit now includes a new Race Control tower, 34 pit-garages, a new Media Centre and TV commentary booths, as well as an impressive 6200-seat grandstand. Track safety has also been improved, with new run-off areas at five corners.<BR><BR>CIRCUIT RECORDS<BR><BR>Lap Record, 2:03.914 (175.740 km/h) Fogarty (Ducati) 1999<BR><BR>Superpole, 2:02.678 (177.509 km/h) Edwards (Honda) 2000<BR><BR>Qualifying, 2:02.936 (177.136 km/h) Chili (Suzuki) 2000