Michel Fabrizio gave new Ducati Xerox team-mate Noriyuki Haga something to think about during testing at Kyalami after the Italian overshadowed the high-profile arrival by scoring the fastest time on the first day of action.
A new venue for most of the riders taking part in the test, held to enable Pirelli to evaluate the tyres they will supply in 2009, Fabrizio hit the top of the timesheets with a best lap of 1min 41.204secs.
A comfortable three tenths quicker than Ben Spies, with Haga coming off the bike on three occasions, it was left to Fabrizio, who completed his maiden WSBK campaign with Ducati in eighth overall, to hit headlines instead.
In addition, Fabrizio also had the honour of breaking the Superbike lap record, held by Colin Edwards since 2002 when the series last competed in South Africa. Even so, Fabrizio is confident he has the pace to go quicker over the two remaining days.
“I'm really pleased because it's the first time I've lapped on this track”, he said. “I feel sure can go even quicker, I'll try and do so in the remaining two days.”