Michel Fabrizio was back on the World Superbike podium at Monza after an impressive ride to third position in race two contributed to a good points' haul overall for the Roman.
The Italian has maintained a fairly modest profile during the opening three rounds, but put in a fine ride on home soil to come away with fifth position in the first race and third during the second encounter.
A maiden podium result for Fabrizio since joining Suzuki Alstare, the former Ducati rider – who scored his maiden WSBK win at Monza two years ago – was delighted with the performance, one that also saw him take the fastest lap in race one, though he admits he needs to work on his starts.
“I am very happy with my podium, especially as I was in fourth for a long time at the end and that's where I thought I'd end up,” said Fabrizio, who prevailed in an entertaining tussle with former team-mate Noriyuki Haga. “When Biaggi had to do a ride-through penalty that moved the two Yamahas and myself up a place. Racing is like that - sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.
“My bike was the same for both race and my only problem was that its top speed and acceleration was not as good as my rivals. That meant that I had to push a lot and brake harder than them in many places. It was a bit of a shame that I didn't make better starts in the two races and that's something that I will have to work on.
“At the moment I am probably giving myself too much work to do in the first part of the race and this series is so competitive that once you give way an advantage, it's very hard to get it back. Even though I didn't get on the podium in race one, I am happy that I set the fastest lap of the race - especially as Biaggi's bike was nearly 7kp/h faster.
“I think our team is working really well and I am very pleased with how things are going. I am very happy to get my first podium of the season and hopefully there will be more to come.”
Fabrizio lies seventh in the overall standings after eight races, just 15 points behind fourth place man Jonathan Rea.