Team Suzuki Alstare rider Michel Fabrizio fought his way up from the fourth row of the grid to take fifth place in the opening World Superbike race at Assen today.
Despite a poor start, the Italian battled his way through the field and was up to fourth place with just four laps remaining: But by then, his front tyre was almost completely gone and when Marco Melandri (Yamaha) overtook him in the final chicane, Fabrizio could not push hard enough to re-pass his fellow countryman.
Jonathan Rea (Honda) had taken the lead after three laps and was never headed on the way to victory. Second was Max Biaggi (Aprilia) with Carlos Checa (Ducati) third.
In race two, Fabrizio charged up to seventh place and was in battle for fifth with Eugene Laverty (Yamaha) and Leon Haslam (BMW), but after six laps, his front tyre started moving about. He pushed as hard as he could to pass the duo, but had to settle for seventh position.
Michel Fabrizio – Race 1: 5th, Race 2: 7th:
“Generally I am quite pleased with our performance today – especially considering that I had to start from the fourth row of the grid. I didn’t make a good start in the first race, but managed to get into fourth by lap 12. It had taken some time to get past some of the riders, but I was fairly comfortable in fourth until a few laps from the end. My front tyre was already moving about a lot by the time Melandri came past and although I tried to catch him again, the tyre wasn’t up to it; so I had to be satisfied with fifth instead.
“I used the same tyres (soft front and rear) for race two, but this time, they began to go off after only six laps. From then it was a real struggle to push hard enough to catch and pass Haslam and Laverty, but I kept trying right to end of the race. At the finish, I was just one tenth-of-a-second behind Laverty, so it was pretty close.
“Although today was quite a good day for us, it would’ve been so much better if I had not have had the problem in Superpole yesterday. I am convinced that if I had been on the first or second row of the grid today, I would’ve got on the podium for sure – and maybe have even won a race!”
Race 1: 1 Jonathan Rea (GBR-Honda), 2 Max Biaggi (ITA-Aprilia), 3 Carlos Checa (ESP-Ducati), 4 Marco Melandri (ITA-Yamaha), 5 Michel Fabrizio (ITA-Suzuki Alstare), 6 Troy Corser (AUS-BMW).
Race 2: 1 Checa, 2 Biaggi, 3 Rea, 4 Leon Camier (GBR-Aprilia), 5 Leon Haslam (GBR-BMW, 6 Eugene Laverty (GBR-Yamaha), 7 Michel Fabrizio (ITA-Suzuki Alstare).