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Bostrom Keeping Pace With Foggy During Initial Testing

Several news agencies are reporting that Ben Bostrom and Carl Fogarty have been testing the year 2000 factory Ducati 996 at various venues. Initially, on a wet track, and, more recently, in dry conditions.

Although Bostrom rode a Ducati for the AMA Vance & Hines team last year, his full-factory 996 is a different animal for two reasons. First of all, the engine and chassis settings are different. More importantly, the factory team runs with Michelin tires, not Dunlops.

Michelins are notoriously grippy (generally, having higher levels of grip than Dunlops), but break away more suddenly than Dunlops. In other words, a Dunlop will slide more predictably, while a Michelin will grip longer, but break away quicker. It is very difficult to switch from Dunlops to Michelins in many instances.

It is easier to switch from Dunlops to Michelins with a Ducati 996, simply because the big V-twin revs much slower than a four-cylinder 750 (or a four-cylinder 500 two-stroke). Nevertheless, this is a transition Bostrom must make. Apparently, he is a quick study.

Fogarty and Bostrom are running similar times, already, with Fogarty just slightly quicker during testing. We think Fogarty will find Bostrom a challenging teammate. Bostrom is easy to get along with, but Fogarty may not like how fast he is.

Bostrom is a hard worker, and a quick learner. He hasn’t been roadracing long, but he was successful very quickly, and won the AMA’s prestigious Superbike championship two years ago (before finishing in the runner up position this year). If Bostrom becomes comfortable with the Michelin tires, and doesn’t have too much trouble learning the new tracks in Europe, we think he will run up front with Fogarty at most of the World Superbike rounds in Europe next year.

With Honda’s new RC51 apparently testing well, the Ducati/Honda rivalry should be even better next year in the World Superbike series. We’ll be watching and let you know.