THE DUCATI XEROX TEAM VICTORIOUS IN VALENCIA; HAGA DOES THE DOUBLE WITH FABRIZIO SECOND AND THIRD
Valencia (Spain), Sunday 5th April: The Ducati Xerox Team celebrated in Valencia today as the two factory riders Noriyuki Haga and Michel Fabrizio took four of the day's six podium places. Noriyuki and his Ducati 1198 dominated proceedings in both of today's races, to win both in convincing style, while Michel Fabrizio also enjoyed two fantastic races, finishing in second and third place today at the Ricardo Tormo circuit.
In the first race of the day, Noriyuki not only dominated from the offset but also smashed the lap record that has stood since Neil Hodgson's Ducati days in 2003. Michel did not get as good a start as his team-mate but nonetheless battled his way through the field, as he has often done in the past, to move up from eighth to third before having to contend with a determined Neukirchner in order to secure the eventual second place finish.
In Race both Noriyuki and Michel set off with the bit firmly between their teeth. This time it was Fabrizio that made the better start and he was ahead of Haga and Spies for the first couple of laps before being passed by both. Michel held on to the third spot and from lap six onwards the order of the frontrunners never changed, with Noriyuki again beating the lap record he set in Race 1 and gaining steadily over Spies while team-mate Fabrizio maintained third place, keeping a strong Laconi firmly behind him.
With today's results, Haga extends his championship lead to 135 points and holds a 40 point advantage over second-placed Spies, while Fabrizio's valuable snatch of points here today moves him up to fourth place in the rider classification, with Neukirchner just ahead of him. Ducati continues to lead the manufacturers championship with 135 points.
Noriyuki Haga (Race 1 -- 1st, Race 2 -- 1st)
"We did a great job today and took two great results. It is very satisfying to take fifty points and increase my advantage in the classification. Unfortunately I didn't make the best start in Race 1 but I made up time and once I got to the front I was able to build up a bit of an advantage. We didn't change much for the second race and I was again very comfortable on my 1198. I've had good feeling with my bike all weekend and I said yesterday that my plan was to win both races so I'm very happy to have done that! I thank my team, who have been fantastic, Ducati and Xerox and I now look forward to Assen!"
Michel Fabrizio (Race 1 -- 2nd, Race 2 -- 3rd)
"We did a lot better than I expected too as Valencia is not my favourite track. I hoped for two top five finishes so we exceeded my expectations and I am of course very happy with the results. When I saw Nori get away from us in Race 1 I knew it would be hard to catch him but as we have been going well all weekend I was pleased that the work paid off and that it saw me to the podium. At a certain point in Race 2 I realised that I wouldn't be able to fight with Ben for second but I stayed focused and held off Laconi who was pushing hard. A good day; I thank my team who have worked so hard all weekend."