The Italian public were witness to a first race that finished in the best possible way for the Ducati Xerox Team this afternoon at the Italian circuit of Monza. Michel Fabrizio took his first ever Superbike win and his team-mate Noriyuki Haga followed him across the line to take second. Noriyuki did not have such a fortunate time in Race 2 but Michel meanwhile returned to the podium, this time in second, concluding his most successful Superbike weekend yet.
Race 1 was spectacular right from the opening seconds as, immediately after the start an accident occurred involving several riders as they rode through the first curve, necessitating a red flag and a restart. Nearly an hour later the race began again and both the Ducati riders got off to a flying start. For the first four laps Michel and Noriyuki led the race in first and second place respectively.
They were then passed during the fifth lap by an ever faster Spies, yet they were able to hold second and third, both doing their utmost to catch the American rider. Having closed the gap significantly by the last couple of laps, neither rider expected that Spies' bike would come to a stop just short of the finishing line, allowing Michel to cross the line first, followed two tenths of a second later by his team-mate Noriyuki.
In Raced 2 both Ducati Xerox riders made another strong start with Noriyuki in the lead after the first corner but at the very next bend he was hit by a bird that caused an immediate loss of sensation in his right arm. He continued on for another lap despite having lost many positions but the blow that he had taken was so strong that he was unable to break at the Parabolica causing his to come off.
The ensuing battle between Michel and Kiyonari allowed Spies to increase his lead, but Michel was not giving up and won the battle with the Japanese rider to finish once again on the Monza podium, this time in second place.
The doctors of the Clinica Mobile saw Noriyuki immediately after his accident and Doctor Corbascio declared that Nori has suffered from a severe contusion to his right bicep, but that there are no fractures, just a laceration of the muscle.
Michel Fabrizio Speaks... (Race 1 - winner, Race 2 - 2nd)
"I am so happy with today's results. It's gone well all weekend so I knew I had the chance to fight for the win and at last I've done it! Mid way through race 1 I was having trouble with the gears, especially when Ben passed me, but I didn't give up and fought till the end. It's a shame for Ben that the race finished as it did because it makes mine a bit of a false win but I'm very pleased of course. Race 2? Well Ben deserved the win in the first race so I'm pleased he took it instead in Race 2. I had to ride the second bike in Race 2 and for some reason I found it tricky at the start, I didn't have a great feeling and couldn't push but after a few laps I just concentrated on reaching the podium again and then it became easier. I thank my whole team for giving me such a fantastic bike this weekend. The double win I'll leave for the next race!"
Noriyuki Haga Speaks... (Race 1 - 2nd, Race 2 - DNF)
"Right at the start of Race 2 I was hit by a bird on my right arm; it hurt a lot and I lost all sensation, with strong pain and pins and needles in my right arm and hand. I tried to continue to race but it was too difficult to ride and as a result I unfortunately fell. Yes it hurts but I should be back in top shape very soon. Race 1 went much better for me of course and I really enjoyed the racing against Ben and Michel. I though at the end that I would surely end third but then Ben's bike stopped so close to the finish line and I finished in second as a result. I'm sorry for him as he deserved the win and this year me and him will continue to battle it out. Despite the Race 2 result I still hold a 54 point advantage and so I'm satisfied with that."
Filippo Preziosi Speaks... (Ducati Corse Technical Director)
"We saw two exciting races today and it's great that Michel is finally celebrating his first race win after so many second and third place finishes in the past. To take the win in Italy obviously makes victory even sweeter. I'm sorry for what happened to Nori, a very unusual occurrence, but I guess this is racing. We know that we have two extremely strong riders and we are very satisfied."
1. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox)
2. Haga (Ducati Xerox)
3. Kiyonari (Honda)
1. Spies (Yamaha)
2. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox)
3. Kiyonari (Honda)
1. Haga (Ducati Xerox) 200
2. Spies (Yamaha) 146
3. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) 125
4. Haslam (Honda) 103
Sykes (Yamaha) 90
Biaggi (Aprilia) 81