The last of the press releases from this weekend's World Superbike round at Assen:
WORLD SUPERBIKE - FABRIZIO FIGHTS TO FIFTH AT ASSEN
Team Suzuki Press Office - April 17.
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!"
Foret on Assen podium as Marino suffers
Fabien Foret finished second in today's third round and crash-strewn World Supersport championship race at Assen in the Netherlands. The Frenchman finished seven seconds behind race winner, Chaz Davies, after tyre problems forced him to ease off in the closing laps
The race was red flagged twice, initially after Honda rider Sam Lowes crashed out of contention on lap four. The restart was barely a lap old before two other riders crashed at the final chicane, bringing out another red flag.
In the second re-start, Foret's Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate, Florian Marino, was taken out of a podium position by Italian rider, Luca Scassa, who careered into the rear of Marino's Honda CBR600RR on lap seven of the revised 16-lap encounter around the 4.542km Assen circuit.
Foret had started the race from the outside of the front row and fell back to sixth place in the early stages before fighting his way through and then be nefiting from the exit of Marino and Scassa.
However, tyre problems similar to those which forced his exit from the opening round in Australia, meant the French rider was unable to push and, with a big gap behind him, he rolled off the throttle to ensure his first points of the season.
Fabien Foret – 2nd
It was a tough day but I'm happy with 20 points, but we had some pretty bad tyre issues with about four or five laps to go. I had to try to save the tyre and finish the race so I was lucky that there was a good gap to Broc Parkes in third. I had to ride really slowly just to finish the race but at the end of the day it turned into quite a good weekend. Between the tyre issue and the fact that I am still not quite 100%, it's good to get some points and I hope for Monza to be in really good shape to fight for a win.
Florian Marino – DNF
Of course I&rsq uo;m really disappointed. After all the work that we did as a team over this weekend, it's a very tough way to finish a race. I know these things can happen in a race sometimes, but I'm not happy that it happened to me today. Everything was OK in the race and I was just waiting to see how Gino Rea was going in front of me. But I have shown that I can fight for podium positions and I'm looking forward to Monza to do that again.
Ronald ten Kate – team manager
We had quite a difficult weekend here until Sunday morning. On Saturday night we found a breakthrough with setup which needed a lot of extra hours working from everyone involved with the team. So a big thanks must go to them for today's results. Florian was riding at his best ever for us and was very unfortunate to be taken out. But things like that happen when there's an intense battle up front and, for sure, being as young as he is, ther e will be more days for him. Fabien also had troubles this weekend. Injuries have not been holding him back so much and the Sunday morning set-up really allowed him to propel himself forward in the race. However, he encountered a similar tyre problem to Phillip Island, and he had to close down the throttle towards the end of the race. We need to work on his starts, which are not so good, but apart from that I must give him big compliments for staying calm all weekend. When the bike was good, he was really fast so we're really looking forward to Monza and carrying this momentum forward. We're not so far behind in the championship so we'll take it race-by-race and get the maximum we can from each weekend.
Assen Disappointment For PBM Kawasaki
It was a case of what might have been for the Kawasaki Superbike Racing Team in round three of the World Superbike Championship which took place at Assen this weekend whereby none of the team's three riders could manage a top ten placing between them.
Despite a promising qualifying session which saw British rider Tom Sykes grab a row two start on the Paul Bird Motorsport Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R after Superpole, Spanish team-mate Joan Lascorz slotted in on row three with Aussie Chris Vermeulen still struggling with injury to claim a row five start.
With high expectations for good results around the Dutch track, and a confident set-up, both Sykes and Lascorz ran strongly in the early stages of race one with Sykes up to third at one point and Lascorz also well placed until he was forced off track when Leon Haslam crashed.
However, after around seven laps, Sykes started to fall back due to tyre problems with Lascorz also suffering from the same issues and at the end of the 22-lap race around the 4.542km circuit, Lascorz could only manage an 11th place finish with Sykes being able to do no better than 14th. To pile even more misery on the Penrith-based team, Vermeulen retired after only eight laps.
For race two, the team went with a harder option tyre in the hope of lasting the race distance but the pace of race two was much faster and Sykes had to settle for a disappointing 11th place with Lascorz following him over the line in 12th after Vermeulen didn't start the race.
The results leave Sykes and Lascorz tied on 26 points in 11th place in the title race and needing an improved performance at the next round which takes place in Monza on May 8th.
Tom Sykes: "I was really confident going into today's races and we had chosen a set-up and tyre which we felt confident with and I was really comfortable running up front with the leaders. Then the grip levels started to disappear and it was a case of just trying to bring the bike home so for race two, we tried a few different things but it wasn't our weekend. We need to put these results behind us and look to a significant improvement at Monza."
Joan Lascorz: "In race one, I felt I had the pace but it was unfortunate that I got tangled up with Haslam's crash and from then onwards I had to concentrate on fighting for the best position I could. In race two, we tried some changes and it was better but I'm disappointed with the results this weekend."
Paul Bird, Team Owner: "It goes without saying I'm not happy with our performance this weekend and we are looking at what went wrong. We need to learn from our mistakes and put it right as it's one of the most disappointing weekends we have had in a long time. We aim to make some major changes in time for Monza whereby I'm hoping for a vast improvement in the results all round."