Misano Adriatico (Italy), Friday 19th June: despite extremely high track temperatures that hovered around 50° all day, the Ducati Xerox riders Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki Haga made a great start to their "home" race weekend at the Misano World Circuit and it was Michel on board his Ducati 1198 who closed today as the fastest rider out there.
In the first free practice session earlier in the day both Michel and Noriyuki got off the starting blocks at a very quick pace and their immediate competitiveness saw them conclude the opening session near the top of the time sheets, with Fabrizio in second and Haga in sixth.
In the initial stage of the subsequent first qualifying session, Noriyuki was the first rider to duck under the 1m38 barrier, more than a second faster than his best time in the free practice. Having made that time, he came back into the garage before going back out to complete a long-run, thirteen laps, all at a very consistent pace. Many riders then started to improve their lap times until, right in the final minutes of the session, Michel completed two flying laps, closing today’s proceedings as the fastest rider.
Michel Fabrizio Speaks… (P1, 1m37.0s)
"I am really happy because I must say that I didn’t expert to be the fastest out there today. The only annoying thing was the traffic; every time I was pushing on a fast lap, I would find someone in front of me, the only rider I didn’t find was Nori! They say it may rain tomorrow and I can’t say how we’ll go if the track is wet but I’m feeling confident and am satisfied with today’s work because if and when it’s hot again on Sunday I’ll know that we are well prepared."
Noriyuki Haga Speaks… (P8, 1m37.4s)
"For now all is under control. I have a good feeling with the bike and I’m pretty happy with the setting we tried today. Despite the heat I didn’t have too many problems with the tyres, and if it hadn’t been for traffic that I came across, I would have finished today in third or fourth – we know that we have the race pace. The forecast predicts rain for tomorrow and maybe Sunday too but I am confident that whatever the weather we’ll be ready for battle come race day."
TIMES: 1. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) 1’37.0; 2. Spies (Yamaha) 1’37.1; 3. Kagayama (Suzuki) 1’37.2; 4. Rea (Honda) 1’37.2; 5. Parkes (Kawasaki) 1’37.2; 6. Kiyonari (Honda) 1’37.3; 7. Checa (Honda) 1’37.4; 8. Haga (Ducati Xerox) 1’37.4