Michel Fabrizio has branded both Ben Spies and Noriyuki Haga as winners, despite seeing his Ducati Xerox team-mate get overhauled in the standings at the final round of the season in Portugal.
Fabrizio has come into criticism since his win at Imola, when he caught and passed Haga to take victory, the five points he denied his team-mate proving potentially crucial ahead of the title showdown.
As it happens, Haga would fall short of Spies by six points, but it didn't stop Fabrizio from saying he believes both riders are 'winners' for the entertainment they have brought to the series this year.
“I am very sorry for Nori of course but we demonstrated that we are strong and, for me, both Ben and Nori are winners because they have given us a fantastic season's racing, fighting until the very end for the title.”
Fabrizio himself enjoyed a prosperous end to a season in which he has made substantial strides over 2008 when he finished eighth with no wins to his name.
Although he finished a fairly distant fifth in race one, Fabrizio charged to victory in race two, avenging Jonathan Rea's last gasp win over him at Misano by snatching the lead on the final lap.
A third win of the season for the Italian, who is tipped for a title tilt in 2010, he was delighted to end his season on a personal high.
“The first race was very difficult. I didn't make the best start but immediately started to push to make up time. Then, following behind Nori, I lost concentration for a minute when I saw him go down. I then tried to catch the leading group but I didn't have great feeling with the front tyre and then, about eight laps from the end, the rear tyre started to drop off too.
“In race two on the other hand I was able to fight hard against Rea. The last time we raced together, at Misano, he got past me so it was my turn to do the same to him today. It was only for the fact that Rea made a mistake on the last lap that I was able to pass him as he was very strong today.”