News 5 Oct 2009

WSBK: Fabrizio fastest for Ducati on opening day in France


The penultimate round of the World Superbike Championship commenced this afternoon on the French circuit of Nevers Magny-Cours and the inevitable battle between the championship contenders was immediately evident when Ducati Xerox man, and current leader, Noriyuki Haga closed the first qualifying session in third position, just one tenth of a second faster than Yamaha rider and rival Ben Spies, and one tenth of a second slower than team-mate Michel Fabrizio, the fastest rider on track today.

During the morning’s opening free practice session, both Ducati Xerox riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio immediately got into their rhythm, lapping consistently fast throughout the sixty-minute session and both registering their respective fastest times in the last few minutes. With the fastest fourteen riders lapping within a second of each other, the weekend promises to be characterised by some extremely close racing.

Later in the afternoon, in the first of the weekend’s two qualifying sessions, Noriyuki and Michel continued to lap quickly, but both were hindered slightly by a lack of grip in the first section of the track. The Ducati Xerox riders, together with Ben Spies and Honda’s Jonathan Rea, currently the top four riders in the general classification, were the only four riders to lap in under 1m39 this afternoon. Fabrizio ultimately made the quickest lap of the day, just 0.107 of a second faster than team-mate Haga. The Ducati Xerox Team is therefore feeling confident ahead of tomorrow’s Superpole.

Michel Fabrizio 1m38.7s
“Today I had no particular problems. We found a setting and a tyre that I liked almost right away and I was able to make constant improvement throughout the day. I was losing a couple of tenths in the first split but I think it’s linked more to a characteristic of the four cylinder bikes than to the tyres. Anyway we are very satisfied and hope it bodes well for the rest of the weekend.”

Noriyuki Haga 1m38.8s
“Well it didn’t go so badly. I am consistently losing a few tenths in the first split, but I hope that by finding more grip I can make up for the lack of top speed. We lost time during the first part of qualifying working with one particular tyre that I wasn’t particulary comfortable with but then, towards the end of the session, we found a better solution and I was able to make some faster laps. The times are all very close but I think I’ll be able to improve on my fastest time tomorrow morning.”