Although most of the attention in the Ducati Xerox camp this weekend is around imminent retiree Troy Bayliss, it was his team-mate Michel Fabrizio that led the team's charge following the first day of competition in Portugal.

Fabrizio, who comes to the final round of the World Superbike season with a second year in the team secured, was third fastest during provisional qualifying, while team-mate Bayliss was a modest tenth best.

For Fabrizio, third is a good fillip for the Italian, even if he admits he perhaps chose the wrong tyre combination to use.

"We were using an intermediate rear and rain front tyre which was probably not the right choice but anyway we made good progress throughout the day and I'm satisfied with how things have gone.

"Today the track surface, although very wet, is already better than it was last week during testing when it was really dirty. I'm feeling confident and today we've made a good start, I'd say everything's going well."

Having topped free practice, Bayliss unusually failed to improve on his best time in the slightly drier qualifying session, but after getting caught out by the slim window of opportunity to change tyres, the new champion remains confident for the weekend.

"Everything has gone ok. It's the first time we've experienced rain here as last week's test sessions were on a dry track. We had a few little hiccups during the afternoon's qualifying session and it didn't quite run to plan, and then we got caught out on a rain tyre at the end of the session when we should have been on an intermediate.

"Anyway these things happen and I'm still feeling confident about the way things are going. Overall I'm pretty happy."



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