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Britain's Neil Hodgson feels confident that he can challenge for the AMA Superbike title in 2009 after finishing a three-day tyre test at Daytona with the fastest lap time.

The former World Superbike Champion ended his sessions four tenths quicker than Ducati's Larry Pegram and almost two seconds faster than Yamaha's Ben Bostrom.

"I really feel confident," Hodgson said. "I truly believe that at our starting point, which is now, it is so much better than what we had last season. According to the team, we are going to test in January and do lots of things, like try to improve the traction control on the bike, and little areas that need to be improved. If I can improve what I am doing now by a second a lap, I think that will put me battling for the wins."


Hodgson is a proponent of both the new series-standard Dunlop Tyres and AMA Pro Road Racing's rules for the American Superbike category.

"I have been more of a Dunlop runner all through my career," Hodgson said. "Dunlop make great tyres. It doesn't really change what we have had in the past over here because all of the top riders run Dunlops and we all get the same tyre.

"The rules package will help us because what that is going to do is bring Suzuki closer to us. We have a year on the bike and developed the bike throughout the year, but at the end of the year, you sit back and evaluate what you need to do to it. We have been able to pinpoint some areas that we have improved."

Best Overall American Superbike Times (all on Dunlop spec-tyres)

1. Neil Hodgson (Hon CBR1000RR), 1:38.031
2. Larry Pegram (Duc 1098R), 1:39.329
3. Ben Bostrom (Yam YZF-R1), 1:39.893
4. Josh Hayes (Yam YZF-R1), 1:40.257
5. Blake Young (Suz GSX-R1000), 1:40.965
6. Chris Ulrich (Suz GSX-R1000), 1:41.166
7. Jeremy McWilliams (Buell 1125R), 1:44.052*
8. Doug Toland (Hon CBR1000RR), 1:46.310

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