Michel Fabrizio's hopes of a good finish in this year's World Superbike Championship are back on track after scoring a pair of podiums in Valencia that 'exceeded' his expectations.
The Italian was left on the back foot heading to Spain after failing to finish either race in Qatar, while he had admitted pre-event to not previously enjoying the Ricardo Tormo circuit.
Nonetheless, Fabrizio was able to capitalise on the Ducati Xerox's strong form at Valencia, reaching the third stage of Superpole without any problems before qualifying his bike on the front row of the grid.
Although a tardy start dropped him to eighth in race one, he slowly worked his way back into contention, overtaking Regis Laconi and Max Neukirchner late on to secure a career best-equalling second place finish.
Following that up with a third in the second race, Fabrizio admits he was surprised to be standing on the podium twice.
“We did a lot better than I expected too as Valencia is not my favourite track. I hoped for two top five finishes so we exceeded my expectations and I am of course very happy with the results. When I saw Nori (Haga) get away from us in Race one I knew it would be hard to catch him but as we have been going well all weekend I was pleased that the work paid off and that it saw me to the podium.
At a certain point in Race 2 I realised that I wouldn't be able to fight with Ben for second but I stayed focused and held off Laconi who was pushing hard. A good day; I thank my team who have worked so hard all weekend.”
Fabrizio's performance has subsequently catapulted him from 11th in the standings to fourth position, albeit 75 points behind team-mate and championship leader Haga.