News 5 Oct 2009

WSBK: Third and fifth for Haga and Fabrizio in France for Ducati


After a difficult Superpole for the two ducati Xerox rider Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio, both declare themselves satisfied with the results that will see them line up in third position (Michel) and fifth position (Noriyuki) on tomorrow’s grid at Magny-Cours.

The morning’s second qualifying session took place on a cooler track (22°C) but this did not prevent the majority of riders from improving on the times set in first qualifying. Yesterday’s trend continued when the fastest four riders on track were once again the leading riders in the championship standings. Fabrizio, as yesterday, was fast from the start of the session, and set the quickest time of the morning in the latter stages. Haga meanwhile carried out a mini long-run of eight laps, the first of which was his fastest lap of the session, completed in 1m38.726s, exactly the same time, to the thousandth of a second, as that set by rival Ben Spies on the Yamaha. Michel thus qualified for Superpole in first position (1m38.3s), with Noriyuki, Ben and Jonathan Rea all hot on his heels, all three having set best times of 1m38.7s.

In the early afternoon free practice session, shortened after a problem with Jakub Smrz’s machine caused a red flag, the ducati Xerox riders Haga and Fabrizio finished in third and fifth place respectively.

Unfortunately, just a few minutes before the first Superpole session, Michel’s technicians identified a problem with the first bike and, together with his engineer Massimo Bartolini, Michel made the decision to exit with the second. Today both Noriyuki and Michel had some difficulties with the tyres, with both finding that the best level of grip came from the second of the two qualifiers available. Nori risked not passing to the third phase when he concluded the second phase in eighth place.

Michel meanwhile chose not to use a qualifier, registering nonetheless a very fast lap to finish in sixth. In the third and final Superpole session, while Haga only had one qualifier left, Fabrizio still had two to count ont. Nori improved his time with respect to the previous session, putting himself in second place, but in the last minutes Michel, Spies and Biaggi all went out once more with new tyres, registering faster times. The final result saw Michel close in third place and Noriyuki in fifth.

Michel Fabrizio 1m38.1s
“I’m very happy to be able to start from the front row again. A few minutes before Superpole we unfortunately found a problem with my first bike, the bike I’d been riding, and very comfortable with, up until then. So I had to go out with the second bike for the Superpole. It wasn’t perfect and the qualifiers didn’t give me the feeling that I expected but I did enough to assure myself of a place on the front row. Tomorrow won’t be at all easy for Nori and myself as Spies and Rea both have a great race pace.”

Noriyuki Haga 1m38.3s
“I prefer to start from fifth position than fourth because it might allow me to make a cleaner start and take a better line into the first corner. Over the weekend we’ve been working hard to sort the rear suspension in order to improve grip and we’re getting there, although we’ll make a few more changes tomorrow morning in the warm-up so as to be competitive to fight for the win. The first qualifier that I used in the Superpole didn’t help us much but the second was a bit better; I made a few small mistakes but the result isn’t too bad. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow.”