After Michel Fabrizio had spent the past few years on the Ducati 1098 twin-cylinder motorcycles the SBK world watched the progress of the 26-year-old Roman rider with interest during the Phillip Island Australia opening round of the 2011 Superbike races.
Progress proved to be the operative word, as it was clear that Michel has made the transition back to a World Superbike inline four-cylinder race bike with a degree of aplomb.
Fabrizio even felt he was in contention for a SBK podium at times, finishing race one sixth and then going eighth in race two, after a change in track conditions.
Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki GSX-R 1000 SBK) says: "I am happy and I am not so happy. I am happy because I was able to fight with the top guys in both races and that is a great boost to my confidence. I am not so happy with the result in race two.
"I didn’t know exactly what to expect in my first race with Team Suzuki Alstare and it was good to be able to battle for the podium in the first race. Maybe if I had made a good start in that race, I might have ended up on the podium.
"It took some time, but I was up to seventh at half race distance and then up to fifth after fifteen laps. That’s when I was in a three-way fight with Laverty, Melandri and Haslam and it was a lot of fun racing with them.
"Just when I thought I might be able to make a charge, my tyres started to go off and I couldn’t push as hard as I wanted. I kept attacking as hard as I could, but couldn’t get past any of them, so finished sixth."
Race two was a different prospect for Fabrizio, who nonetheless underlined his credentials as a top World SBK rider again, in a team that has been a title challenger in recent years, and that made Troy Corser Riders’ Champion in 2005.
Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki GSX-R 1000 SBK) says: "I used the same bike for race two and the same type of tire and only made some small adjustments, but I started getting chattering almost right from the start."
"It was not an easy race by any means, but I tried to ride as hard as I could without crashing. I am not so happy with eighth, but overall I think we should be pleased with our performance."