The 13th final round of this year's World Superbike Championship takes place at the Autodromo do Algarve at Portimao in Portugal this weekend and Team Alstare Suzuki rider Michel Fabrizio is looking to end the season on a high after a recent run of disappointing results.
The year began with promise and all the hard work put in over the winter has shown that the GSX-R1000 Suzuki is competitive: The first three rounds of the year saw Fabrizio knocking on the door of the podium and he was finally rewarded with a third place in race two at Monza. Unfortunately, that has been the highlight of the year so far and since the eighth round in Brno, things have not gone as well as expected. Fabrizio's race pace has been consistently good throughout the season, but problems in Superpole have meant that he always has a lot to do to challenge the leaders. This weekend he has two chances to improve on his recent poor run - just one finish in the last six races - and end the season on a positive note.
"Portimao is a very challenging circuit. It is very technical and there are many changes of elevation and a variety of fast and slow corners. Like most circuits, it is one that requires a good bike set-up. Shaving off those last fractions of a second is difficult and so it is so important to get comfortable with the bike as soon as you can, make a good Superpole; and give yourself a chance.
"The year started quite well and we could see that the bike was competitive. Monza was a great result and we thought that we could build on that and get more podiums. The next three rounds saw three DNFs, but we got a pair of fourths in Brno and felt that the podium was not so far away again. Since Brno though, things have not worked out well for us and I have had six no-scores and that is not good enough by any means. I have won in Portimao before - in 2009 - and so I am no stranger to the podium there. I would like to forget my recent poor form and finish the season with a pair of good results this coming weekend and end the season on a high: That's what I'll be aiming for."
Race 1: 1 Max Biaggi (ITA-Aprilia), 2 Leon Haslam (GBR-Alstare Suzuki), 2 Jonathan Rea (GBR-Honda), 4 Carlos Checa (ESP-Ducati), 5 Leon Camier (GBR-Aprilia), 6 Shane Byrne (GBR-Ducati). 11 Michel Fabrizio (ITA-Ducati).
Race 2: 1 Biaggi, 2 Haslam, 3 Cal Crutchlow (GBR-Yamaha), 4 Checa, 5 Camier, 6 James Toseland (GBR-Yamaha). 11 Michel Fabrizio (ITA-Ducati).