Michel Fabrizio has come away from his first World Superbike race as a Suzuki Alstare rider with mixed emotions after finishing sixth and eighth at Phillip Island.
The Italian, making his debut in Suzuki colours this weekend, has been a consistent top ten performer all weekend, a status he maintained in the races as he battled on the fringes of the lead group.
Recovering from a poor start in race one to climb his way to fifth, though he would eventually slip to sixth by the chequered flag when the tyres began to fade, Fabrizio believes a better getaway may well have seen him on the podium.
“I am happy and I am not so happy,” Fabrizio, who would go on to finish in eighth in race two after suffering with chatter problems, said. “I am happy because I was able to fight with the top guys in both races and that is a great boost to my confidence. I am not so happy with the result in race two.
“I didn't know exactly what to expect in my first race with Team Suzuki Alstare and it was good to be able to battle for the podium in the first race. Maybe if I had made a good start in that race, I might have ended up on the podium. Instead, I found myself eleventh at the end of lap one and then had to fight through the pack and that's not easy because there are so many good riders and good bikes.
“It took some time, but I was up to seventh at half race distance and then up to fifth after fifteen laps. That's when I was in a three way fight with Laverty, Melandri and Haslam and it was a lot of fun racing with them. Just when I thought I might be able to make a charge, my tyres started to go off and I couldn't push as hard as I wanted. I kept attacking as hard as I could, but couldn't get past any of them, so finished sixth.
“I used the same bike for race two and the same type of tyre and only made some small adjustments, but I started getting chattering almost right from the start. It was not an easy race by any means, but I tried to ride as hard as I could without crashing. I kept pushing wherever possible, but it wasn't possible to push hard enough to get another top six result.
“I am not so happy with eighth, but overall I think we should be pleased with our performance today. We know the season is going to be very hard this year - probably more than previous years - and to begin with good results is a great start.”
Fabrizio's results place him fifth in the standings after the first round.