Three months into the 2011 World Superbike Championship season, Michel Fabrizio says he is enjoying life at Alstare Suzuki, even claiming the GSX-R1000 handles better than his former Ducati mount.
Fabrizio made the switch to Suzuki after three seasons with the factory Ducati Xerox team, the Italian returning to the team and manufacturer with whom he won the 2003 Superstock 1000 title.
Save for a retirement at Donington Park, Fabrizio has shown impressive progress on the bike, finishing every race inside the top eight and scoring a first podium of the year last time out at Monza.
Indeed, writing in his first blog for Suzuki, Fabrizio admits it took time to adapt from a twin-cylinder machine to a four-cylinder bike, but insists the change is suiting him now.
“I had no big expectations before the season began, I just wanted to learn the bike and keep on improving,” he said. “After many years on a twin, it took a little while to get used to as four-cylinder bike, but one thing I can tell you is that my current bike definitely handles better!
“I knew this would be a tough season for many reasons. Firstly, this championship is so hard and very, very competitive. Often the top ten in qualifying are separated by less than a second and the smallest of margins can mean the difference between a good or bad position on the grid.
“This is a problem for all of us, but if you do not qualify well, it's almost impossible to make good results in the race, even though your lap times may be as good as the top guys.
“Even if you do qualify well, it's very important to make a good start, otherwise everything you have gained will be lost in turn one and you have to over-ride to try and get back into contention.”
Fabrizio also touched on his status as the only full-time Suzuki rider in the field following the manufacturer's decision to slim from two to just one entry this year. It's something Fabrizio rues, though he insists the efforts of the Alstare team go a long way to make up for it.