WITH SOUTH AFRICA TICKED OFF THE LIST, THE DUCATI XEROX TEAM MOVES TO THE NEXT CONTINENT, AMERICA, FOR ROUND SEVEN
Salt Lake City (USA) Monday 25th May: a busy month for the Ducati Xerox Team that, just back from Africa, now prepares to leave for the fifth continent to feature so far on the 2009 World Superbike calendar: America, and more specifically, Salt Lake City, the appointment that sees the international championship reach the half way mark, the seventh of fourteen rounds.
At the last race which took place at Kyalami (South Africa) just eight days ago, the Ducati Xerox factory riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio couldn't have ridden their 1198 bikes to a better result, scoring a double one-two in the day's two races. Fabrizio has moved up to second place in the classification as a result, 85 points behind his team-mate, championship leader Haga. Ducati continues to hold the lead in the constructors championship ahead of second-placed Yamaha.
This, the only Stateside event to appear on the World Superbike calendar, has been streamlined this time around with no AMA competition taking place during the race weekend. The majority of the World Superbike riders, including Noriyuki and Michel, got their first chance to race at this track this time last year and most came away with very favourable opinions of the circuit and its facilities. In 2008 Michel Fabrizio faired very well at this track, "new" to nearly all the riders, and put his 1098 on the podium in both of the day's races. Noriyuki meanwhile, on board the factory Yamaha, had a more difficult weekend, suffering a crash and a resulting broken collarbone during the practice sessions. Although he bravely put up with the pain to race regardless of his injury, it was not easy an easy race day for the Japanese rider.
Noriyuki Haga (1st in championship, 250 points)
Noriyuki does not have the best memories of last year's inaugural Miller round, but hopes to consolidate his lead there this year, now he is on board the Ducati 1198.
"I didn't have a good time at Miller last year, and it was very painful to ride with a broken collarbone but I needed to fight for more points so I went ahead with the races. I hope to have a better time of it there this year and I0x00ecm looking forward to riding my 1198 at Salt Lake. Although Ben will surely be the favourite to win at his home track, I intend to be up there fighting with him for the victory."
Haga's Superbike form at Miller:
2008: Race 1 -- DNF, Race 2 -- 6th
Michel Fabrizio (2nd in championship, 165 points)
A track that really seems to suit Michel's riding style, he'll be looking to improve on the two thirds he scored last year.
"I really got on well at this track, which was new for us all last year. Although I didn't know the place, I went better there than at many of the other circuits last season, finishing third in both races, it seemed to be something of a "lucky track" for me! Now that I'm second in the championship, I plan to consolidate that position at Salt Lake, by taking the results I scored here last year and improving on them this year."
Fabrizio's Superbike form at Miller:
2008: Race 1 -- 3rd, Race 2 -- 3rd