Black day for Hodgson's hopes

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The Independent Online

Neil Hodgson could be forgiven for thinking he had ridden under motorcycling's equivalent of a ladder and over a black cat after a miserable day here torpedoed his chances of a late charge up the world superbike championship. While he was lying a comfortable second in the second race, his tyre disintegrated with two laps remaining to leave him out of the points.

The British GSE rider had led for the first half of the race after having been forced to use his spare bike in the day's opener when a mechanical failure on his favoured machine caused a breakdown during the warm-up session. He finished that race in sixth position as Troy Bayliss and Ben Bostrom were caught in a seesaw battle that endured until the last lap and culminated in a final lap victory for the Bayliss, the championship leader.

For Bostrom, awaiting a shoulder operation after dislocating the joint last month at Monza, the second race was not as dramatic. He led Hodgson by three seconds when the latter's misfortune handed the American L&M Ducati rider an easy victory and allowed Bayliss to finish second.

Uncomfortably for Dunlop, the tyre manufacturers used by Hodgson, three other riders suffered disturbing tyre damage. "I knew there was something wrong two laps before because it started to slide," he said. "Then, suddenly, there was a bang like a bomb had gone off and I knew my race was over. It's so disappointing but I have been racing now for 11 years and I have never had one go like that, even in a practice session. It's just one of those things."

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