Press Release
(2005 FIM Superbike World Championship)

Losail (Qatar), Wednesday 23 February: World Superbike heads to the Middle East
for the first time in its history as the Losail International Circuit in Qatar
plays host to the opening round of the 2005 championship. Last October James
Toseland became the youngest-ever WSBK champion when he beat off the attacks
from team-mate Rgis Laconi to take the 2004 title and the Anglo-French duo will
be lining up on the grid again as team-mates on the red 999 machines from Borgo
Panigale, this time in the colours of new title sponsor, Xerox.

The worlds leading office technology supplier has linked its name to the Ducati
Corse factory squad for the next two years and in the first year of the
partnership the Ducati Xerox Team has every intention of continuing the Italian
manufacturers winning streak, which has seen it take 11 Riders and 13
Manufacturers titles since the start of the World Superbike Championship in 1988.

Last weekend Toseland and Laconi made final preparations for the championship in
a two-day test session at Losail, which left the British rider with tenth
quickest time and several bruises after a nasty highside on Sunday. But Toseland
was quick to play down any fears that he would not be competitive this weekend:

Im still feeling a bit black and blue but apart from that, Im fine declared
Toseland. I was quite relieved because it was probably the biggest crash Ive
had in my career. Before the crash, I was quite happy with my performance even
though I didnt get the chance to try a qualifying tyre on Sunday.

As far as the whole package and the team is concerned, I believe that the
Ducati is still the bike to beat, we have put a lot of effort into retaining
this title and for my part Im not going to be giving up that number 1 plate
without a fight, he concluded.

Laconi, fourth fastest last weekend, was satisfied with his progress during the
pre-race testing. We did a lot of laps and worked very hard last weekend and
found everything we were looking for, reliability, speed and tyre endurance so
Im happy with the progress declared Rgis.

The track will be different for sure during the race, but now its important to
get good results this weekend and start the championship in the best possible
way. The track is new for everyone and will be slippery, but it will be
interesting to see how many riders stay fast lap after lap until the end of the
race. I am pretty happy with my performance, so we will see what happens,
concluded Laconi.


The 2005 championship promises to be tougher than ever as Ducatis traditional
Japanese rivals, Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki together with Honda, already
present last year with Vermeulen, and Malaysia s Petronas, line up on the
30-strong grid with their latest four-cylinder machinery. Toseland and Laconi
also face a stellar field of competitive riders, including former champions from
Superbike (Corser) and Supersport (Vermeulen, Muggeridge, Pitt), proven race
winners (Chili, Bostrom), a powerful Japanese trio (Haga, Abe, Kagayama) and
WSBK regulars (Martin, McCoy, Walker). Other names to watch out for are Italian
youngster Lorenzo Lanzi, who lines up in Stefano Caracchis satellite Ducati
team together with 250GP refugee Fonsi Nieto.


Name: Losail International Circuit
Length: 5380 metres;
Pole Position: left
Corners Left/Right: 10/6
Finish Line Length: 1068 metres.


Best lap: new circuit
Lap record: new circuit
Superpole: new circuit
Unofficial best lap: Kagayama (Suzuki), 2m01.480s.