If Michel Fabrizio's maiden World Superbike Championship win at Monza could be described as fortuitous, then his second victory in front of his home crowd at Imola is likely to be considered the more memorable one.
A dream result for the Roman – performing on an Italian bike on Italian soil -, Fabrizio overcame a series of challenges, and assumptions, to secure an important win over Ducati Xerox team-mate Noriyuki Haga in the second race of the day.
Having qualified on pole position for the first time in his career and topped each session prior to the races, Fabrizio was good for a victory challenge during the first encounter, particularly when he rose to second on lap five.
However, an ongoing issue with his arm was preventing him from changing gear properly, an ailment that saw him fall away from the lead fight. It was also instrumental in him being unable to respond to Max Biaggi's last corner lunge, one that left him a slightly disappointed third.
“In race one after just a few laps, I was having problems with my left arm and it was hard to change gear. I had cramps in my hand. By the end I was really hanging on by two fingers with no feeling in my arm. So all things considered third place was a good result.”
Undergoing treatment between the races, Fabrizio was back on form in race two as he diced for the lead with Haga in the early stages. However, while his team-mate managed to find his way through early on, Fabrizio kept up his momentum to steadily reel Haga in and take back the position on lap 13.
While team orders were expected to come into effect, Fabrizio would not be denied a triumph in front of his home crowd, crossing the line as the winner to thank the team for renewing his contract for 2010.
“I really wanted a win today so I am extremely happy. After the first race I got my trainer to do some work on my arm and it obviously did the trick because it wasn't a problem in race two, and when I got past Noriyuki I knew I could win. I'm happy also for my son, who is here and always asks me why I don't win more!
“Thanks to the whole team, to my trainer Leigh “Rok” Bryan, to Ducati, to Xerox and to the spectators who have been amazing this weekend.
“All of Ducati's top management were here today too so I hope that our results demonstrate that Nori and me deserve to have had our contracts renewed for next year.”