Michel Fabrizio may have guaranteed himself a ride with Ducati Xerox in 2009 after doing exactly what was asked of him in the second World Superbike race of the day at Vallelunga.
Another weekend where it has taken a while for Fabrizio, who is from nearby Rome, to get up to speed, he finished seventh in the first race but was up to fourth in the second when his services were called upon to help team-mate Troy Bayliss win the title.
With Bayliss unable to get the better of Noriyuki Haga, Fabrizio was needed to get in front of Troy Corser instead so as to make it a formality. As such, the Italian put in a series of good laps to catch and pass Corser on the final lap.
Unfortunately to for the team, Bayliss' fall just three corners from home made his charge less meaningful, although it did mean he'd claim a career-equalling second place finish in front of his home fans, much to his delight.
"I am really happy with my result although I am obviously really disappointed for Troy. I knew the points situation and knew that I could help Troy by getting past Corser and so I gave it my all. It wasn't easy as Corser was also riding really hard but I managed it in the end and am very happy to be on the podium at my home race.
“Race one was less of a success for me as we made a wrong choice with regard to the front tyre, in the same way that Troy did. At the end of today, I'm just sorry that me and Troy wont be celebrating together in the way that we might have been. I thank the whole team, the sponsors and my wife who have all helped me attain today's result."
Interestingly, Fabrizio also received significant praise by Corser for being able to catch and pass him in the latter stages.
“Congratulations to Michel Fabrizio for getting on the podium. He's young and I'm sure there'll be many more podiums to come from him.”