Hodgson wins eight in a row

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The Independent Online

Neil Hodgson maintained his perfect record to move into a commanding 85-point lead in the World Superbike Championship after another double race win here yesterday.

The Burnley-born Ducati Fila rider won both races from pole position to make it eight out of eight this season, although he needed a dramatic fightback to see off Gregorio Lavilla in race two.

The Alstare Suzuki rider finished third in race one before leading for long periods of race two until Hodgson – who had slipped to ninth after a poor start – completed his recovery by snatching the lead with two laps left, relegating Lavilla to second.

NCR Ducati's Regis Laconi was runner-up in the opening race and the PSG Ducati rider Pierfrancesco Chili took third in race two.

The HM Plant Ducati rider James Toseland, from Sheffield, was fourth in race one after an incident-packed race before a quieter fifth place in race two, while his Nottingham-born team-mate, Chris Walker, took a pair of sixths despite a foot injury.

Carl Fogarty's Foggy Petronas Racing struggled with Troy Corser's 13th in race one all they had to show for their weekend after three retirements.

Hodgson's main title rival, team-mate Ruben Xaus, endured a miserable weekend. Starting from 16th after hurting himself in a qualifying crash, the Spaniard finished seventh in race one before crashing out of the second to fall 85 points behind Hodgson in the title race.

Hodgson made history with his first-race win, clinching Ducati's 200th in the series and breaking Troy Bayliss' 2002 record of six straight wins.

Hodgson then had words of praise for Lavilla after their scrap in the second race. "I've got to say hats off to Gregorio," he said. "I've got a lot of respect for him. There was no master plan or anything, I was damn lucky at the end. I was struggling around the fast corners because the bike just wouldn't steer. I got a flying start and then my clutch just slipped. I got through the first corner and then it started working again."

Chris Vermeulen overcame a hand injury to extend his World Supersport Championship lead with a dominant victory at Monza. The Ten Kate Honda rider snapped a ligament in his right hand on Friday but scored maximum points as his title rival, Katsuaki Fujiwara, again struggled, falling 29 points adrift in the championship after a 10th place in Italy. Jurgen van de Goorbergh was second for Belgarda Yamaha with the Van Zon Honda of Iain McPherson third.

* Shane Byrne scored his third consecutive double race win in the British Superbike Championship to tighten his grip on the title. The MonsterMob Ducati rider leads by 104 points in the title race.

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