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Motorcycling: Hodgson's off to flier.

Neil Hodgson set the pace in the first qualifying session at Monza as he aims to build on an impressive start to the World Superbike Championship season.

The HM Plant Ducati rider, right, lapped the Italian circuit in one minute 48.282 seconds to lead Castrol Honda rival Colin Edwards.

A fine display last time out in Sugo, Japan, saw the Burnleyborn rider leap into third place in the drivers' championship.

With a year-old bike, Hodgson was not expected to set the pace this weekend - but Edwards and world champion Troy Bayliss were left floundering as the Englishman set the pace yesterday.

Ducati Infostrada's Bayliss - a six-time winner this season - was almost a full second adrift of Hodgson while L&M Ducati star Ben Bostrom completes the provisional front row.

Hodgson's team-mate James Toseland, from Sheffield, clocked the sixth-fastest time of the day.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 11, 2002
Words:143
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