Suzuki Alstare has confirmed Michel Fabrizio will be its sole representative for the 2011 World Superbike Championship following a successful test together at Magny-Cours.
The Italian switches to the four-cylinder GSX-R1000 following three years riding for the factory Ducati Xerox team, a tenure that yielded four race wins and a run to third position in the 2009 WSBK standings.
The announcement comes seven years after Fabrizio last raced for Suzuki Alstare, the 26-year-old beating the likes of Lorenzo Lanzi and James Ellison to the 2003 European Superstock Championship.
Getting his first taste of Suzuki Superbike machinery during the annual post-season test at Magny-Cours, Fabrizio was impressed by the ease with which he was able to get comfortable on the bike.
“I am very happy with how the tests went at Magny-Cours, even though the weather was not so good on the first day. I am a bit surprised how easily I got used to the Suzuki Alstare bike after three years of riding a twin. A twin requires a completely different style to a four, so to jump onto a four and get comfortable so soon is a very good sign.
“Having known the team from before obviously helped and soon I felt as if I had never been away. My first impressions of the bike are that it feels strong and can be a title contender.
“Leon [Haslam] showed that this year, so I am looking forward to more tests and then racing it. This championship is very hard and competitive and you have to be on your game all the time. But, I know I have a good team behind me and I think we can have a very good season next year.”
Despite finishing second and seventh in this year's World Superbike Championship with Leon Haslam and Sylvain Guintoli, Suzuki has already announced that it will supply just a single factory bike in 2011. Haslam has switched to BMW, while Guintoli will ride a privateer Ducati next season.