Neil Hodgson made history at Monza on Sunday, taking his seventh and eighth straight race victories and totalling 200 points in the 2003 season.

Neil Hodgson made history at Monza on Sunday, taking his seventh and eighth straight race victories and totalling 200 points in the 2003 season.

No other rider has had such a perfect start to the season, winning every single race. It was also Ducati’s 200th and 201st race victories as a manufacturer.

In the first race Hodgson beat Regis Laconi (Ducati NCR) to the finish, with third going to Gregorio Lavilla on the 1000cc Suzuki.

“The early laps were fine as I tried to put in some quick laps to break away,” said Hodgson. “I had a two-second lead on the last lap, but then I got held up by the backmarkers as we went through the chicane and I lost a lot of time. I then eased off towards the end to take the win but I didn’t realise everyone else was so close behind me.”

In the second 18-lap race, there was an intense battle between Hodgson, Laconi, Lavilla and Pierfrancesco Chili (PSG-1 Ducati). Hodgson held off Lavilla by 0,044 seconds after being down in fourth. Pierfrancesco Chili finished in third, with Laconi suffering from a drop in power on the last few laps to finish a close fourth.

“It was fun out there battling elbow to elbow at 190 km/h,” said Hodgson. “Hats off to Gregorio, who rode a fantastic race. Frankie (Chili) and Regis were also unbelievably aggressive but safe. I had no plan for race 2, I was just lucky, and ended up in the right place at the right time. All sorts of things happened to me out there, the bike wasn’t perfect at the front, I ran over the kerb at the chicane and then after a flying start I lost touch for a few laps. But I managed to focus on the race, get back with the leading group and win. I’m really happy I could get the 200th win for Ducati.”

Hodgson’s team-mate and closest challenger, Ruben Xaus, only scored nine points at Monza, after making contact with Chris Walker in race one and fighting through the field from dead last to seventh. He crashed out of race two.

“The whole weekend has been a nightmare,” said Xaus. “I just got started in the first race before Walker touched me and I went into the gravel trap. Then in race 2 I lost the front end at Ascari, it was my mistake. I was having problems with the brakes the whole race and I just went down. I thought I could get some points from this weekend, I’m still second in the championship but now I just need to put this one behind me, concentrate on the next races and score some points,” he said.

Hodgson has a 85-point lead over the Spaniard, who has 115 points. Lavilla has a total of 111 and Laconi moved to fourth overall on 96.

Original article from Car