Michel Fabrizio notched up his 35th career WSBK podium at Phillip Island as he proved he could translate his impressive single lap pace on the Red Devils Roma Aprilia into a similarly strong race performance.
The most experienced rider in the WSBK field, who has scored at least one podium per season since making his series debut back in 2006, Fabrizio looked to have ruled himself out of contention in race one when a poor start from the front row dropped him to 11th at the end of the opening lap.
Nonetheless, the Italian would pick his way up the order again, setting the fastest lap of the race on the way to catching second place man Eugene Laverty. Engaging in a late race dice with the Irishman on the factory Aprilia, Fabrizio briefly nosed ahead only to be re-passed two corners from the finish line.
Similarly, Fabrizio was in contention for the podium in race two, but after losing touch with the lead group in the early stages, his fight back would fall just short as he settled for fourth behind Marco Melandri.
His best weekend points' haul since Kyalami in 2010 (where he also scored his last WSBK win), Fabrizio was happy to have been on the pace throughout the weekend.
“We are going back to Italy with two important results. The whole team has worked very well and I would like to reward their efforts with a second podium after the one obtained in race one. Unfortunately I did not succeed, but the result of this first round of the Championship is undoubtedly positive. We must now continue in this way, because I think we have the possibilities.
“The next race will be in Aragon, where I tried the RSV4 for the first time immediately starting strong. It should be another advantageous track for Aprilia and we aim to be with the leading group, because this is a championship that rewards constant results.”
A landmark weekend for the Red Devils Roma team, which made its debut at the start of the 2012 season, manager Andrea Petricca was delighted to be winning a maiden podium in its first race with Aprilia machinery.
“We have obtained two exceptional results,” he said. “We are happy because we have worked so hard and the two races of today have rewarded us. Michel was amazing, going strong from the first round of free practices until the last lap of race two.
“In race two he could get a second podium but the fourth place is still a good result. We are leaving Australia with Michel's third place in the riders' standings and the determination to continue in this way.”