Monza (Italy), Tuesday 4th May: With four of the 2010 World Superbike rounds already completed, Ducati Xerox riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio are now mentally and physically preparing for the first of three Italian appointments, to take place this weekend at Monza’s Autodromo Nazionale.
Monza has hosted the Superbikes since 1992 (the only year that didn’t see a Monza round was 1994) and last year provided the setting for Michel’s first ever Superbike win, achieved in Race 1 and consolidated by a second place finish in the second of the day’s races. Noriyuki too had a strong first race and crossed the line second, just two tenths behind team-mate Michel, but was subsequently involved in an unlikely, and extremely unlucky, collision with a pigeon which put a dramatic end to his Race 2.
Just over a week ago the TT Circuit of Assen played host to the Superbikes and at the end of a very difficult weekend, Noriyuki lies in sixth position in the riders classification and Michel in ninth. Ducati is third in the manufacturers standings at this point, four points behind Aprilia and eighteen behind leader Suzuki.
Straight after Assen the factory team carried out two days of testing at Misano and, although Noriyuki was suffering from a high fever, some very useful work was completed by both riders and at the end of the sessions Michel proved to be the fastest rider on track.
Noriyuki Haga (6th in championship, 85 points)
The Japanese rider has celebrated numerous race wins and podiums at this track in recent years and lists it among his favourites.
"It was unfortunate that I was sick after Assen and so couldn’t make the most of last week’s Misano testing session. The work I did do there went well and now we have to see what happens at Monza. This weekend will be tough; I like the Monza track but at the same time I know that my 1198 does not have the top speed of some of the other bikes and with Monza’s long straights, it will be hard for us I think. Nevertheless, I’ll be opening the gas and giving 200%."
Haga’s Superbike form at Monza:
2009: Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – DNF
2008: Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – winner
2007: Race 1 – winner, Race 2 – winner
2006: Race 1 – 4th, Race 2 – 3rd
2005: Race 1 – 11th, Race 2 – 9th
2004: Race 1 – DNF, Race 2 – DNF
2002: Race 1 – DNF, Race 2 – 3rd
2000: Race 1 – DNF , Race 2 – 5th
Michel Fabrizio (9th in championship, 53 points)
Michel put on a great performance here last season, winning Race 1 and finishing Race 2 in second. For this reason, Michel too cites Monza as one of his favourite circuits.
"I had a good weekend here last year and am very happy that my first ever Superbike race win came in front of my home crowd, at Monza. We’ve not had an easy run of things recently but testing went well at Misano last week and I’ll be doing everything to put on a great performance this weekend. We need to start to make up lost ground."
Fabrizio’s Superbike form at Monza:
2009: Race 1 – winner, Race 2 – 2nd
2008: Race 1 – 9th, Race 2 – 5th
2007: Race 1 – 8th, Race 2 – 11th
2006: Race 1 – DNF, Race 2 – 14th
Name: Autodromo Nazionale Monza
Circuit length: 5.777 km
Pole position: Left
Corners left: 5
Corners right: 8
Length of race: 18 laps = 103.986 km
LAP RECORDS: Best lap – Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) 1’45.336 (2009). Superpole – Spies (Yamaha) 1’44.073 (2009).
2009 RESULTS: Race 1 – 1. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) 2. Haga (Ducati Xerox); 3. Kiyonari (Honda). Race 2 – 1. Spies (Yamaha); 2. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox); 3. Kiyonari (Honda)