Michel Fabrizio says he hopes he can be the surprise package of the 2011 World Superbike Championship following his switch to the trimmed Suzuki Alstare team.
The Italian will ride a single Suzuki GSX-R1000 for the Belgian-based outfit after three years with the factory Ducati Xerox team, a tenure that yielded four victories and a run to third in the standings in 2009.
Signalling a return to four-cylinder machinery, having made his debut with Honda in 2006, the move will also see him rekindle his relationship with the Alstare outfit that gave him his Superstock break in 2003.
Describing it as 'coming back home', Fabrizio is shrugging off Suzuki's much publicised decision to trim to a single bike for 2011, adding that he is confident he can get his season off to a strong start.
“It's a bit like coming back home," he said. "Team owner Francis Batta gave me a great opportunity in 2003 and I hope that 2011 will also represent another turning-point in my career".
"Suzuki have reduced the budget a bit for the Superbike development but the GSX-R is very competitive and last year it was the only bike that managed to keep up with the Aprilia. The team will continue under its own resources: for example, in the tests we had a different engine to the one used by Haslam in 2010 and a further step is expected for the summer races.
"It'll be important to begin the world championship on the right foot. I always seem to go well in Australia and so does the Suzuki. I hope to be the surprise..."