Michel Fabrizio has revealed he is beginning to turn his attentions towards an outside challenge for the 2009 World Superbike Championship title after claiming his seventh and eighth consecutive podium finishes at Misano.
Fabrizio has been the series' top scorer over the last four meetings since claiming his maiden WSBK triumph at Monza, a run that has seen him follow Ben Spies in breaking down the gap to championship leader and Ducati Xerox team-mate Noriyuki Haga.
The Italian came close to making it a second career win at Misano too having entered the final lap of race two in the lead, only to miss out when Jonathan Rea got the better of him at the death.
Coupled to his third place finish in the opening race, Fabrizio was pleased with his continued run of form, particularly around a circuit that hasn't been so kind to him in the past.
“I did my best to stick with Ben in race one but I think the fact that he changed from wet to dry set-up one or two laps before me made the difference, because I took a few laps to get feeling in the dry and then it was too late to catch him or Shane. On the last lap Smrz was right there on my tail and I went wide at one point but luckily he didn't get past me and I finished third.
“In the second race I struggled a little with the front tyre and it seemed that today Rea's Honda had a little something over us in its acceleration. It's a shame it couldn't be another win but, with two podiums today, I'm very happy, it's my best ever result at this track and I know I did all I could so you can't ask for more than that.”
Indeed, with Fabrizio now just seven points adrift of Spies and 51 points off Haga in the overall standings, he admits he 'can't help thinking about the title', even if he knows he needs to start winning again soon.
“I'm just a few points behind Ben again now so, yes, I can't help thinking about the title but in order to be a serious contender I know I need to remain consistent and clock up some race wins from here on in.”