2011 World Superbike
When Ducati pulled all factory efforts from World Superbike for 2011, Michel Fabrizio was left without a ride. But due his experience, which includes four wins and reaching the podium 32 times, the Italian was quickly signed by Suzuki.
The 26-year-old Fabrizio penned a one-year deal in October as the sole Suzuki Alstare Superbike rider, and calls the partnership "a bit like coming back home."
The reason? Suzuki and the Italian Fabrizio have much experience together. While on the racing for the Belgian Alstare Suzuki team, Fabrizio took the 2003 European Superstock 1000 Championship.
Another reason is Suzuki Alstare Superbike Team Owner Francis Batta. He's the same man who ran the 2003 Alstare team, and over the years him and Fabrizio have solidified a relationship.
Michel Fabrizio says: "Team owner Francis Batta gave me a great opportunity in 2003 and I hope that 2011 will also represent another turning-point in my career."
Following is a World Superbike interview with Fabrizio, previewing the upcoming year aboard the GSX-R1000.
Q. The last three years in Ducati can't have been easy. What are your hopes now you're back on a Suzuki?
Michel Fabrizio says: "Suzuki have reduced the budget a bit for the Superbike development but the GSX-R is very competitive and last year it was the only bike that managed to keep up with the Aprilia. The team will continue under its own resources: for example, in the tests we had a different engine to the one used by Haslam in 2010 and a further step is expected for the summer races."
Q. How does it feel to be back on a four-cylinder bike?
Michel Fabrizio says: "It was a bit difficult to get acclimatized to it again after three seasons on a Ducati twin. But now I'm used to a four again."
Q. Are you pleased with the winter testing results?
Michel Fabrizio says: "We have not done much testing in the dry but we've still got another two days at Phillip Island to complete the workload and set-up. It'll be important to arrive at the first race ready to go."
Q. What are your expectations?
Michel Fabrizio says: "It'll be important to begin the world championship on the right foot. I always seem to go well in Australia and so does the Suzuki. I hope to be the surprise..."