Team Alstare Suzuki rider Michel Fabrizio is all fired-up and ready to race at this weekend's 11th round of the World Superbike Championship in Imola.
The Italian is no stranger to the podium at the Autodromo Internationale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, having won race two there in 2009 after a third place in race one. He also won the penultimate round of the 2003 Superstock Championship at the Italian circuit, and then went on to take the title by just three points. That was on an Alstare Suzuki GSX-R1000, so Fabrizio would like nothing better to be on the podium again on another Alstare bike.
This year will be the third year in a row that the World Superbike Championship has visited the popular 4.936 kilometre circuit. The track features a variety of ups and downs, a couple of blind corners and is regarded as technically challenging. Whilst it is not that difficult to learn, it is quite hard to shave-off those last fractions of a second chasing a quick lap in qualifying.
Superpole, however, has not been a favourite time for him this year but once again he will attack it with his usual determination and try and get on the front row of the grid.
"Imola is one of my favourite tracks, not just because I have had some successes there but also because it is a great track to ride. Technically it is challenging because there are lots of changes of elevation and also because their are some blind corners and so you need a good bike set-up and know where and when to brake. It is a track where it easy to make up time and very easy to lose time; especially if you get held-up at the start. If that happens, it is very difficult to make up the time. It is very important to be on the first two rows of the grid and then make a good start for the approach to the first couple of turns.
"It's no secret that Superpole has caused us a few problems this year. By not qualifying well, it means that I have a lot of work to do catch the leaders and if I push too hard, the tyres get worn out more quickly. My aim, as usual, is to try and qualify well and give myself a chance at the start of the race. I know that my race-pace is good, but that's no good if I am down in eighth, ninth or 10th or so at the start. I need to be in the top four or five at the beginning and be fighting with the leaders.
"My last podium was in Monza, in May, so I think it's about time I was there again; especially as I failed to score any points in the last round. There are just three rounds left this year and I want to do the very best I can in all of them and finish the last part of the season on a high."
Race 1: 1 Carlos Checa (ESP-Ducati), 2 Lorenzo Lanzi (ITA-Ducati), 3 Noriyuki Haga (JPN-Ducati) 7 Michel Fabrizio (ITA-Ducati).
Race 2: 1 Checa, 2 Haga, 3 Cal Crutchlow (GBR-Yamaha). Michel Fabrizio (ITA-Ducati) DNF.