Michel Fabrizio gave Ducati Xerox the opportunity to celebrate one last podium success at the final time of asking with a fine third place finish at Magny-Cours.
On the weekend the Italian manufacturer, which has won 16 of the last 23 titles, embarke don its final World Superbike event, Fabrizio did his utmost to snatch third from Sylvain Guintoli on the final lap of its final race.
An emotional moment for Fabrizio, who joined Ducati in 2008 and scored his first WSBK races with the manufacturer in 2009, he was delighted to give the team the chance to celebrate one more success.
“The first race didn't go as planned and front tyre wear gave me a lot of problems, preventing me from catching those ahead. In Race 2 I had a great battle with Guintoli. I was braking as hard and as late as possible in order to make up what I was losing on the straights and I had to attack for third right on the last lap.
“Sylvain wanted the podium because it's his home race but I wanted it for my team and to wrap up the last three years with the Ducati Xerox team in the best possible way. I thank Ducati, my entire team, the sponsors and the fans; this is our day and I'm going to enjoy it with my team.”
It was a sentiment shared by Noriyuki Haga, who finished runner-up to Ben Spies in 2009, as he finished seventh and fifth in his final races for the team.
“I was expecting a much faster second race to tell the truth. In Race 1 I was having problems with the rear tyre and so I thought that the changes we made before the second race would improve the situation. But in Race 2 it was difficult to push because I didn't have great balance.
“Anyway, I want to thank my team. The guys have been absolutely fantastic, especially before yesterday's Superpole and ahead of this morning's warm-up when they performed miracles to prepare my bike in time. We close this chapter sadly but for the Ducati Xerox Team I have an incredible respect that I will always carry with me.”
Though not the best season for Haga and Fabrizio – who ended up sixth and eighth in the overall standings respectively – both are expected to be on the grid in 2011. Haga has already confirmed he will ride an Aprilia under the PATA Racing banner next year, while Fabrizio has been linked to the sole Suzuki Alstare.