Michel Fabrizio has admitted that he thought he had finally secured his maiden World Superbike pole position but, having again been denied by Ben Spies in South Africa, the Italian remains confident of his chances of adding to the victory he took last time out at Monza.
The Ducati rider, who had topped pre-season tests at Kyalami and headed most of the sessions leading into Superpole, appeared to have ended Spies' record-chasing run of fastest times in qualifying when he posted a 1min 37.288secs effort in the closing moments of phase three. However, the American struck back almost before the Ducati team could draw the breath to cheer, edging Fabrizio by a mere fraction of a second.
"I thought I'd done it today, I really thought I'd got my first Superbike pole, but it wasn't to be and Ben beat me by just a thousandth of a second," the Italian reflected, "I am very happy with my performance today but, of course, it's a pity I missed out on the pole by such a fraction."
In the morning's qualifying session, despite not improving on his fastest time of Friday, Fabrizio was once again the fastest rider on track and was also the most consistent, putting together a string of laps under 1min 39secs to qualify for Superpole in first position and leave him confident of his potential for Sunday's brace of races.
"We have a good race pace and I've been really consistent with my lap times up until now, so I hope that me, and [Ducati team-mate] Nori [Haga] too, can be up there fighting at the front for the wins," he noted, "I really enjoyed the racing at Monza last week, and I know that this great track will be the setting for two similarly exciting races. For sure, it'll be even more fun because there are a lot more curves than Monza for overtaking....”