FABRIZIO (DUCATI XEROX) RESERVES A PROVISIONAL FRONT ROW SPOT ON SUNDAY'S GRID AT MONZA Monza (Italy), Friday 7th May : a mixed first day at the Autodromo Nazionale of Monza, with meteorological conditions conditioning performances to a certain...
FABRIZIO (DUCATI XEROX) RESERVES A PROVISIONAL FRONT ROW SPOT ON SUNDAY'S GRID AT MONZA
Monza (Italy), Friday 7th May : a mixed first day at the Autodromo Nazionale of Monza, with meteorological conditions conditioning performances to a certain extent. Ducati Xerox rider Michel Fabrizio nonetheless put in a very strong performance and concluded first qualifying in third position, reserving a provisional spot on the front row of Sunday's grid. Noriyuki Haga, still losing time in the last sections of the track, closed this first day fifteenth.
Earlier today, in the weekend's first free practice session, the Ducati Xerox riders got straight to work and it was Michel who made an immediate impression, lapping consistently fast and placing in the top five for almost the duration of the hour-long session. Light rain fell intermittently throughout but this didn't stop Michel from setting a 1'43.8, in the latter stages of the session, which projected him to the top of the timesheets where he remained right up until the final seconds, when Crutchlow managed to shave a tenth of a second off the Italian rider's best time. Michel thus closed in a solid second position, while team-mate Noriyuki closed the opening session in twelfth place.
Later in the afternoon, after further rainfall, the first qualifying session was declared wet. The track quickly began to dry out however and during the second half of the session times started to tumble. With around twenty minutes to go, both Michel and Noriyuki exchanged their intermediate tyres for slicks and Michel's lap times in particular continued to drop his until he achieved his final, and best, time of the session in the very last minutes, a 1'45.1, to reserve a provisional third position on Sunday's grid. Noriyuki meanwhile had a few problems, losing valuable time particularly through the last section of the track and, with more work to do tomorrow, finished in fifteenth position today.
"At the start of the session I was not wanting to take too many risks as some of the corners were pretty slippery so I stayed calm and then began to push as the track dried out. It's a shame the conditions were so mixed because there were a few things we wanted to work on today but this wet weather didn't give us the chance. Anyway, it's been a positive first day. I think the testing at Misano last week helped us to get back on the right track and I'm feeling confident."
"Although the lap times were not so great, I've actually got quite a good feeling with my 1198. I'm losing time in the last part of the track, from the Ascari corners to the Parabolica, and I need to concentrate on that section tomorrow. We'll be making a few changes before tomorrow's sessions and we'll see how we go, the weather will surely make the difference too."