Former World and AMA Superbike champion Scott Russell is at Daytona this week dialing-in the handling of his Ducati superbike. Russell, who struggled on the Harley-Davidson superbike team the last two seasons, became a member of a Ducati-supported AMA team this year, HMC Ducati, but is working with old equipment, namely, outdated superbikes.
This wouldn’t normally be unusual — Ducati typically has British and AMA superbike riders on last year’s equipment — providing the latest machinery exclusively to its World superbike team. The problem this year, as we previously reported, relates to a significant difference in the engine powering the 2001 model superbike. The new 998cc motor is reportedly 10 horsepower up on last year’s bike, with broader and smoother power, as well. To run with the best machinery in AMA superbike, Russell probably needs this motor. Will he get it, along with the minor chassis tweaks homologated by Ducati this year? We’ll see.
John Kocinski, also a former World superbike champion, is reportedly joining a rival Ducati team here in the AMA series (Competition Accessories.com) and, at present, we believe he is using the 2001 model superbike at Daytona. It could be that Ducati has more faith in Kocinski, and will provide better equpment to his team.