Team Suzuki Alstare rider Michel Fabrizio ended the opening day of the new Superbike World Championship season with the seventh fastest time in a very close qualifying session. If he had lapped just three tenths of a second quicker he would've ended up second quickest! Before the day started, Michel and Team Suzuki Alstare knew that this year's championship would be the toughest ever, but to be so competitive on day one is a boost to everybody in the team and a huge encouragement ahead of tomorrow's qualifying and Superpole.
Spaniard Carlos Checa (Ducati) continued the form he had shown in the tests earlier in the week and ended with a time of 1:31.577, inside the lap record set by Troy Corser. Second quickest today was Sylvain Guintoli (also Ducati mounted) with Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) third and reigning champion Max BIaggi (Aprilia) fourth.
Michel - 7th, 1:32.108 I feel pretty happy with my seventh today, especially when you consider how close the lap times are. Just three tenths faster and I would've finished second quickest today, so I know that we are in contention. I would've felt even more happy, but I had a little crash towards the end of this afternoon's qualifying session, when I lost the front going into turn two. It happened so quickly that I didn't have time to recover. It's a shame and I want to say sorry to my mechanics because it means that they've extra work to do tonight. Fortunately I was unhurt in the crash and all I did was scrape my leathers.
Today we spent the two sessions getting a good set-up for the bike and we will continue to do that tomorrow, paying some more time to fine tune the suspension. The bike is going pretty good around here and I am happy that it is more than holding its own against some of the newer bikes from this year. Also, I am still learning about my bike and feel that there's quite a bit more to come, so I am looking forward to tomorrow and Sunday. Today was my first day on the Suzuki Alstare bike in a race weekend situation and I think the team and I have done well, all things considered. Now we want to keep up our progress, qualify well and see what happens on Sunday.
Although the first turn is a fair distance away from the start line, it is a bit like a funnel when a big group of riders try and go through it. Therefore it's important to qualify on the first two rows of the grid, make a good start and not get tangled up in the pack going into the turn. That's going to be my aim, but first we've got tomorrow's practice, qualifying and Superpole. Ciao, Fabrizio
-source: suzuki alstare