May 14-16th Monza, Italy
SBK World Superbike

May 17-23rd Misano, Italy
Join as we travel to the home of World Superbike in Italy, and follow all of our
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Web @ May 2004
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Were Off to Italy!
Please excuse our delay of MotoGP and SBK race coverage this week as is off to Italy May 14th - 24th to cover the Monza World Superbike Race and World Ducati Week - a 10 day paid dream / work vacation for any sportbike enthusiast, particularly if you also happen to have a garage full of the blood Italian red machines. WDW isthe world's biggest manufacturer produced enthusiast event, and we will be spending the week based at the seaside town of Rimini next to the Misano Grand Prix track.

On Monday the 17th we will be taking and reporting on a day long Ducati DRE race school and track day at Misano aboard Ducati 999 Superbikes taught by their factory test riders. Then on Tuesday will get an exclusive press tour of the Ducati factory Corse Race Shop and the factory in nearby Bologna which we will be reporting on back to you. The middle of the week will see us taking sportbike road trips around central Italy with a possible jaunt over to Florence. And our trip concludes with the huge WDW weekend of activities on May 22-23rd at Misano as we hang with the factory race team and thousands of other Ducati sportbike fans, and where Ducati president Carlo Biaggi will make a "...dramatic announcement" (possibly Ducati has bought Moto Guzzi, or announces plans to produce the Desmosedici MotoGP V-4 as a production street bike? Stay tuned!).

All the while it will be an incredible trip and we will tell you all about in in words and pictures in the weeks following our return. Plus we promise to get caught back up on our delayed race coverage.
Until then, Ciao baby! - Jim Gianatsis, Editor


Saturday evening: a stunning announcement on the Misano stage!
Misano, Italy, May 12th - A wide range of on-track events for Ducati’s 2004 rally are ready and waiting for biking enthusiasts worldwide at Ducati’s fourth edition of WDW, from May 17th to 23rd, at the Santa Monica track in Misano, Italy.

The number of participants buying passes to the event is growing frenetically and questions are being asked all over the world. Everybody wants to know, “What’s Ducati got up its sleeve this time?” Well, those of you who come to WDW will be the first to hear the stunning announcement. Ducati CEO Federico Minoli will deliver the sensational and ultra-secret news about a great Ducati project that will be previewed on the stage at WDW on Saturday, May 22nd.

All motorcycle brands will be welcome. Ducati wants to give everyone a chance to join the world’s greatest homage to the joy of motorcycling. Tens of thousands of motorcycling fans from around the world will be there: beginners and experts, bikers and non-bikers, Ducatisti and non-Ducati owners.

This year Ducati is preparing 7 days of amazing thrills for fans everywhere.For the first time, the track will be available to WDW pass holders: week-pass holders will be able to ride the track from Tuesday to Sunday. The track will also be open to Weekend pass holders. An area will be provided in the paddock for engine and frame set-up, so that all participants will be able to have their motorcycles prepared for the track by experts. There will also be an 11,000 feet sales area for Ducati products, with the entire range of Ducati accessories and apparel and the new WDW2004 Line, created just for the event, on display. The WDW Line, currently available online at, consists of: caps, T-shirts and and useful keychain and porta-pass kits.

And that’s not all: for the first time, Ducati will set aside a test ride area (3.4 km in length, open Tuesday to Sunday), where everyone will be able to try out the 2004 range of motorcycles, including the incredible Multistrada and cutting-edge 999 and 749 Superbikes.

But WDW2004 is not just about riding: Ducati is also preparing a fantastic array of leisure activities and entertainment. There will be a relaxation area, where participants can enjoy relaxing professional massages while listening to music; a gym fitted out with the latest Technogym equipment, and a beach area, set up with games like beach soccer and beach volleyball.

Fans at WDW2004 will be able to choose from a dizzying array of special events on the track, from displays by our most famous official riders, to the incredible stunts of Christian Pfeiffer, from an exciting drag car race, to a demonstration flight of Italy’s new Mangusta attack helicopter and amazing fireworks displays in the night sky.And thanks to the support of our numerous sponsors, enthusiasts will have a daily opportunity to win prizes, from Alfa Romeo driving courses to dream trips offered by Ventaglio.

Also new at this year’s WDW will be the Ducati Garage Challenge, our contest dedicated to Ducati Specials, held in partnership with Desmodromiclub of Rome. The contest will be divided into two main parts. The first part will be online - the team, helped by the experts of Desmodromiclub, will select the thirty best entries. The second part will take place directly at WDW, where contestants will go head to head for the title of best mechanic and the best special will be crowned. Ducati Corse’s official racers will be among those on the jury.

You also won’t want to miss our WDW2004 exhibit of the amazing winners and honorable mentions of the heralded Design your Dream Ducati contest. Come see the incredible passion, talent and imagination of your fellow enthusiasts!Ducati has also organised a series of tours in collaboration with Curve e Tornanti, which will take riders through the most beautiful parts of Italy’s historic region of Emilia Romagna.

This year at WDW2004, four laps with renowned former GP racer Randy Mamola on the blazing Ducati Desmosedici biposto will be up for grabs to the highest bidder of our Rider for Health Auction (starting at 500 Euro). All proceeds will go to Riders for Health and Clinica Mobile.

Finally, fans will be able to depart for the event on their Ducatis with hundreds of their fellow fans on Friday, May 21st, from either Rome, Piacenza, Bologna and Pescara, meeting together to create an endless “Big Red Snake” into the Misano circuit. The Big Red Snake was created in 1998 by the members of Desmodromiclub of Rome: in 2002 over 190 bikers rode together to WDW, for 2004 we anticipate more than 300!

And, of course, participants will have the incredible opportunity to chat and talk with our champion racers: the official Ducati Corse riders. There will also be many other sporting VIP present, all with a shared passion for Ducati. To sign up for the event and to get more information, please visit

Event sponsored by Regione Emilia Romagna, Alice, AMD, Brembo, Adler, Dainese, Shell Advance, Fila, Ventaglio, Alfa Romeo, Malaguti, Michelin, Curve e Tornanti, Incorporesano.

World Superbike Championship 2004 World Superbike Championship
Round 4 Monza, Italy 14-16 May 2004

Preview: World Superbike prepares for Warp Speed at Monza
May 12th - At The Speed of Light: With ultimate velocities of well over 300kmph and average lap speeds of over 190kmph Monza holds the crown as the fastest track on the SBK calendar. Despite the addition of numerous chicanes over the years, speed and power are the most important steps on the Monza podium ladder. Monza is one of the most atmospheric and traditionally sculpted circuits in world racing, a true giant among tracks - and one of the longest - at 5,793km. The oldest permanent European track still in regular use, Monza is located inside a former Royal Park, surrounded by greenery and the remains of the old circuit’s steep banking. A place of memories and nostalgia, Monza is still a venue where modern SBK competitors get to practice their slipstreaming and racecraft in a unique fashion.

Leading Light: With no fewer than five different winners in six races so far this year, the 2004 version of World Superbike is as closely fought and unpredictable as ever. The adoption of a blanket 1000cc capacity limit, stringent technical regulation and the innovation of single make Pirelli control tyres have all contributed their part to this phenomenon. The latest race winner is also the pre-Monza championship leader, Pierfrancesco Chili (PSG-1 Ducati 999/998). At Misano on April 18 Chili sent his local crowd (and legions of his loyal fans around the world) into a frenzy of joy, securing his 17th career win, in his 223rd SBK race. The enduring and always entertaining Chili knows what it’s like to win at Monza, having secured his first ever SBK victory there in 1995.

Fila Factory Power: Privateer Chili’s speed and consistency have delivered him a 20-point championship cushion but at the high-speed academy of Monza, works power is always an important asset. The factory Fila Ducati riders, James Toseland and Regis Laconi, sit second and third overall in the table at present. More than any other riders, they will be looking to exploit any power advantage that their unique Ducati 999F04 machines may have. In this season, in which ultimate performance is within range of more teams than ever before, Monza will be an excellent test of how far the teams equipped with multi-cylinder 1000cc machines have progressed since the first round at Valencia on February 29th.

Honda Powers On: The foremost four-cylinder machine in the championship at present time is the Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade of Chris Vermeulen. The reigning World Supersport Champion has made outstanding progress since his promotion to Superbike, having secured two podiums already. The 21-year-old Aussie now sits in fourth place overall, 27-points off the lead. Monza is a circuit Vermeulen rates very highly and if his still-developing machine has improved sufficiently since Misano, he may be the darkest horse in the Monza firmament. As Vermeulen is the only rider in the top six without a win to his name this season he is particularly keen to join this increasingly inclusive club with all due haste. Other top-level four-cylinder entries come from the Bertocchi Kawasaki, MIR Suzuki and UnionBike Yamaha teams.

Winner’s Circle: With Chili, Toseland and Laconi (2) having all won races so far, the other victories have gone to Ducati 999RS riders Noriyuki Haga (Renegade Ducati 999RS) and Garry McCoy (Xerox Ducati Nortel Networks 999RS). Monza will be less of a known quantity for SBK inductee McCoy, as this is his first full season of World Superbike, having enjoyed a glittering GP career.

Petronas Progress: The upwardly mobile Foggy Petronas team, running the unique three-cylinder Petronas FP-1 machine, has experienced a real measure of success this season. First off Chris Walker took a third place at Valencia on the opening day and more recently Troy Corser secured second place in race one at Misano. An interim engine specification will power their Monza assault, before a full revamp comes on stream for the Laguna Seca round in July. The team has managed to squeeze in a test of the new
motor in Spain and it has already been voted an improvement over the previous spec.

Supersport: The fourth round of the World Supersport Championship is expected to be the most knife-edge of them all, despite the recent success of Honda riders at the Monza speed bowl. Last year’s winner Chris Vermeulen has moved on to Superbike duty for the Ten Kate Honda team, but the remaining combatants, Karl Muggeridge and Broc Parkes, know that Ten Kate CBR600RR Hondas have secured the past two Monza wins. The other four manufacturers involved in Supersport have already proved to have their own turns of speed this season, and with Championship leader Jurgen van den Goorbergh (Yamaha Italia YZF-R6) finishing second last year, and with his team hailing from the outskirts of Monza itself, there is great expectation from the official Yamaha camp. To underline the challenge, 2002 World Champion Fabien Foret (Yamaha Italia) won the ‘02 Monza race on his way to the title. Kevin Curtain (Yamaha Motor Germany) is another Monza favourite, and the all-new Suzukis of Katsuaki Fujiwara and Stephane Chambon, plus the factory Breil Ducati 749 of Lorenzo Lanzi, cannot be written off.

Webcam World: The trial use of webcams for interviews and other live coverage of the Superbike World Championship at Misano has been deemed a huge success and will continue for Monza (May 15th and 16th). Seen only on the official website for the series,, the huge number of visitors using the interactive area has delighted the race organizers. The webcam initiative is one in a series of planned improvements to the designed to give visitors not only more news and information on World Superbikes, Supersport, Superstock and the participating teams and riders but also to be directly involved.

Fidoweb provides live interviews, video highlights and video IRC chat facilities through the interactive interface on the SBK website using a minimum of three exclusive cameras. On the Saturday after Superpole, live interviews with the front-row qualifying riders from Superbike and the pole sitter from Supersport take place. During this session, visitors to the site can put their questions, seeing and hearing the answers the riders give those chosen. On the Sunday, there are two more sessions similarly covered following the end of the Supersport and two Superbike races. Other interviews are planned with many of the Championship’s leading riders including Pierfrancesco Chili, James Toseland, Regis Laconi, Noriyuki Haga, Chris Vermeulen and Garry McCoy. Other chances to put questions in Italian or English to team personnel will take place over each weekend.

Fidoweb specializes in Internet broadcast techniques and uses the latest digital equipment and satellite links to ensure that everybody with internet access is able to take full advantage of this unique free service. FGSport will study the level of interest and, if it proves as successful as is anticipated, the company plans to expand the service to all events in 2005. The Championship website receives more than 32-million page views, 219-million hits and has in excess of 1,550,000 unique visitors. It is the definitive source of information on the Superbike World Championship.

MotoCreations to premier new Ducati based Sport Cruiser
at LA Calendar Motorcycle Show July 17-18th

April 30th, Los Angeles, CA - is excited to announce that designer and race car fabricator Mark Savory of based in Chandler, Arizona, will use the Los Angeles Calendar Motorcycle Show, held the July 17-18th 2004 weekend at the Queen Mary in Long Beach,CA, to premier in public his exciting new sport cruiser prototype bike based on Ducat'si venerable Monster with the new DS1000 engine.

Most Ducati and custom Harley owners are affluent enough to have more than one bike in thier garage, and many owners have bikes from both genres. However, the current motorcycle cruiser market has little to offer in a bike with the attibutes and advantages of both generes: a cool looking cruiser for bike night with your buddies and crusin' the strip, along with the performance and reliability and sound of a V-Twin production based sportbike. Savory decided to start his new company to create the right type of bikes the market was missing. The new MotoCreations Ducati based Sport Cruiser concept bike offers that in spades, and potentially at a very affordable price should it be put into limited production by Savory or mass produced by a manufacturer like Ducati.

You can see the world premier of the new MotoCreations Ducati based cruiser at the July 17-18th LA Calendar Motorcycle Show, along with many other sportbike attractions including the Jardine West Coast Horsepower Dyno Shootout, and The Las Vegas Extremes stunt riding team starring Pauly Sherer and beautiful JoJo Farmer. Complete information is available at http;//

The Las Vegas Extremes will be featured at this year's LA Calendar Motorcycle Show with beautiful 19-year old model JoJo Farmer doing crazy shit like this. Meet JoJo in person and get her newest stunt riding video LVX Girls! Details HERE.

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RIde a Ducati MotoGP Bike with Randy Mamola!
What wiil you bid?

Four rides with Randy Mamola are up for grabs on the two seat MotoGP Ducati at the World Ducati Weekend in Misano, Italy on Sunday, May 23rd. The four
highest offers over €500 will win the rides. The rides are guaranteed to thrill – Randy will be on a MotoGP bike capable
of speeds up to 200 mph. Where else can you experience what it is like to be a MotoGP rider?

The rides are held in support of Riders for Health’s pioneering work in Africa. Whoever rides behind Randy will help enable African health workers to carry on riding motorcycles over tough rural terrain, reaching people in
need of vital health care.
The fee includes a weekend ticket for WDW, use of leathers and all protective clothing, plus medical checks. The fee does not include travel to and from the event, or accommodation. Weight limit is 90kg.

World Ducati Week 2004 the greatest Bike show on earth is about to get a whole lot better. Seven days of Ducati energy and non-stop activities on the
renowned Santa Monica racetrack, with track rides from Monday to Sunday. Come experience seven days to change everything you know about motorcycling.
For more information, see and
To make a bid, e-mail

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Covergirls Janelle, Chandi and Joanna Krupa get down to work
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Preview: French Grand Prix at Le Mans May 14/15/16 2004
After a resounding 1-2-3 at Jerez two weeks ago, Honda's main men are eager to carry on where they left off in Andalucia and establish supremacy as the European rounds of the 16 race MotoGP World Championship unfold. Sete Gibernau (Telefonica MoviStar Honda RC211V) who won in Spain two weeks ago now heads the points standings with Max Biaggi (Camel Honda RC211V) lying second.

The pair now lead reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) who kicked off the year with a win in Welkom in the opening race of the season. Gibernau and Biaggi will be looking to prevent Rossi's title challenge from gaining momentum again in France. All three riders have tasted victory here before in the premier class - Gibernau last year, Rossi in 2002 and Biaggi in 2001. So sparks are likely to fly here.

Rossi has admitted that the riders he expects to be challenging for the title are Gibernau and Biaggi. On account of their experience and the fact that they were consistently fast last year on their Honda RC211Vs. Riding the same machinery this year, the duo have fulfilled the Champion's prophecy so far and will be aiming to further cement his prediction at Le Mans.

But the 4.180 kms Bugatti circuit presents something of a challenge. It's part of the famous road circuit that hosts the Le Mans 24 hour car race and was built in 1965 around the start and finish straight of the 24 hour circuit. The track was modified and shortened last year to improve safety and it returned to the MotoGP calendar in 2000 (the French Grand Prix had previously been held at the Paul Ricard circuit).

It's not a favourite circuit for many of the MotoGP riders because of its stop/start characteristics. However, the fast uphill right hand bend between the grandstands en route to the chicane after the start/finish, still provides a breathtaking spectacle for thousands of fans. This will be of little concern to the riders though.

Le Mans is essentially a set of nine right-hand and four left-hand turns followed by short straights, and linked by one long pit straight, and it's always proved a tricky track for set-up. Slow corners followed by flat-out acceleration onto the straights make it too easy for the rider to spend time with the front wheel in the air instead of in contact with the track. Bike set-up requires stability under braking allied to quick turn-in, plus a chassis that doesn't allow for too much weight transfer under violent acceleration out of the corners.

After his win there last year Gibernau has warmed to the track. "Until last year Le Mans wasn't one of my favourite tracks. I never seemed to get a good feel or race rhythm there. But last year everything finally clicked there and felt good and I won on a wet track. Now I should be okay there wet or dry."
Max Biaggi has always been at home there. "Le Mans has always been good to me and I'm happy to go there. I think we should be able to get the right set-up quickly. We've still got a slight chatter problem but we know that Le Mans is less grippy than Jerez so it shouldn't be too bad. I can't wait and I'm very motivated."

Biaggi's teammate Makoto Tamada (Camel Honda RC211V) riding on Bridgestone tyres is a big fan of the French track. "It's a medium-fast track and that's good for me," said the Japanese. "I'm at my best in third and fourth gear turns and all the factors are in place for me to do well there."

Colin Edwards (Telefonica MoviStar Honda RC211V) is less keen. "It was my first time there last year and it rained almost non-stop. It's a stop/go track and not a favourite of mine. But if we find the right set-up, who knows…"

Alex Barros (Repsol Honda RC211V) is looking to do even better than his recent third place at Jerez. "Things seem good at the moment," he said. "My doctor has given me the green card so my condition is clear; I took my first podium for the team at Jerez last week and we are off to Le Mans where I scored my best finish last year. We had a good couple of days testing after the GP in Jerez and have sorted out a few things with the set-up of the bike. The team is really working well and we are all very motivated right now."

And teammate Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) is as fresh as ever approaching this race. "Last year it was a tough weekend and an even tougher race," said the American. "We made a bad tyre choice in the race and finished way down. That was last year. I'm really looking forward to having a big weekend in France and getting on pace right from the start on Friday morning. We had a good test in Jerez after the race last week and tried a whole load of things that should really help over this coming GP.
The competition is so tight at the moment that every little thing we can do which gives us the advantage will help."

In the 250cc category, that has now been given a reprieve until 2009 after initial plans were in place to phase it out by 2006, things are as tight as ever with two different winners of the first two Grands Prix. Danny Pedrosa (Telefonica MoviStar Junior Team RS250RW) prevailed in Welkom, while Roberto Rolfo (Fortuna Honda RS250RW) reigned in Spain.

Pedrosa, 125cc Le Mans race victor last year, is at home at the French venue. "In the last two years I was on the podium at Le Mans and, normally, when you enjoy in a track you can adapt yourself better to all changes." The young Spaniard said. "I like to ride in Le Mans, it's a track where you need good brakes and also good acceleration. It isn't too technical, but you need to concentrate if you want to be fast."

But it's Randy de Puniet who heads the standings as he competes in his home Grand Prix. The Frenchman is eight points clear at the top of the table and if he can snatch his first win of the season in front of a home crowd, it could be just the boost he needs to consolidate his advantage.

But reigning All Japan 250cc Champion Hiroshi Aoyama (Telefonica MoviStar Junior Team RS250RW) showed at Jerez that he has all the aggression and speed required to shine in this class in only his first full season. In treacherous conditions he ran with top men only to crash through over-exuberance. At a track that's easy to learn quickly like Le Mans – he could easily spring a surprise.

"I arrive at another new circuit for me," Said Aoyama. "I only hope to be lucky, not like in Jerez. There I felt OK in wet conditions, but the race was a lottery. It was a pity because I was riding fast, but the most important thing is that I'm OK, without injuries. Two days of testing in Jerez were good for me to understand the bike much better."

Rolfo is ready to go. "We stayed on at Jerez after the race for two days testing to work on the chassis to try and find the limits of performance before Le Mans," he said. "I like the track, probably because very few riders like the place. If I remember well we had the same problems in qualifying at Le Mans that we have had at Welkom and Jerez in the dry. But we found good solutions to our problems for the race last year and finished third. I think this bike is not too far off where we need to be for the race this year."

In the 125cc category Andrea Dovizioso (Team Scot Honda RS125R) heads the overall rankings after a win in South Africa and a fighting fourth in Spain. His consistency has paid off with 10-point margin over second-placed Steve Jenkner (Aprilia).

Julian Simon (Angaia Racing Honda RS125R) is the next best-placed Honda rider in 13th after two races and last season's revelation Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand Prix Honda RS125R) has yet to score points this year. This leaves Dovizioso exposed at the front, but the Italian now has ample experience in the class and he can more than cope with the pressure of leading a series in the early stages of a season.
He finished fifth overall last year and posted two second-place finishes. His maiden win in South Africa and a measured ride to fourth in Spain show his maturity as a competitor and Le Mans will be a useful place for him to build on this season's early promise.
"I injured my finger at Jerez but it's responding to treatment so I should be OK for Le Mans. Its not one of my favourite tracks but I finished third last year and with the bike running so well I hope to improve on that this year." Commented the 125cc series leader.

Luthi is determined to resurrect his season in France. "I got ninth at Le Mans last year after a great battle with Azuma," he said. "The track is so-so for me, some of it I like but some parts are not interesting. We must begin from zero with the bike the most important thing is to finish the race after the first two bad races where I scored no points."

Aprilia's Bankruptcy -
Back from the Brink?
Aprilia USA Press Release: Woodstock, GA (May 6, 2004) -Aprilia SpA, the Noale, Italy based manufacturer of award-winning motorcycles and scooters, today announced new credit lines for $30 million Euros as well as renewal of existing lines, for a total global line of credit of $180 million Euros. The financing agreement was reached with the assistance of a consortium of financial institutions, including Interbanca and Caretti & Associati. This new round of funding allows Aprilia to resume full production and satisfy high market demand as the main riding season gets underway in most parts of the world. Demand has been especially strong in Aprilia's growing U.S. market.

Despite being a relative newcomer in the market--the company established its U.S. subsidiary in 1999--American consumers have embraced the Italian manufacturer's award-winning line of scooters and motorcycles.

Aprilia, which offers more scooter choices than any other manufacturer in the U.S. market, just posted its best April sales month ever, increasing 30.6% over April, 2003. In addition to strong scooter sales, Aprilia's line of high-performance super sport bikes and adventure touring bikes continue to win awards for their thrilling combination of ride characteristics, technology and style.

This new round of funding allows Aprilia to concentrate on the industrial plan and continue its growth by exploiting its extraordinary know-how and brand popularity. The industrial plan will include reorganization initiatives designed to gain cost savings and operational efficiencies. In addition, Aprilia will continue to proactively discuss business investment opportunities with financial and/or industrial investors to assure the necessary resources are in place for continued growth of the company's prestigious Aprilia, Moto Guzzi and Laverda brands.