Italian rider Michel Fabrizio (Aprilia Red Devils Team) is gearing up for the Dutch GP - third round of the World Superbike Championship - hoping to find the same kind of form he displayed at the opening round of the season in Phillip Island. In Australia Fabrizio conquered the first spot on the starting grid and followed that up with a third and a forth place in the two races, but in Aragon he didn’t go anywhere near that sort of results: in Spain he collected a 8th place in Race-1 and a 11th lace in Race-2, and in qualifying he didn’t go past the SP1.
After the Australian podium and the tough Aragon race, Fabrizio and his team will be focused on searching once again for the best feeling with their Aprilia RSV 1000 Factory, a bike that neither the rider nor his crew have worked with before the current season. In 2012, with the BMW S1000RR of the then half official BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet team, Michel Fabrizio got himself a 6th and a 10th place, but he’ll have to do better than that to defend his current fifth place in the standings. Here’s what he had to say before the Assen round:
“Phillip Island has been useful for believing in my possibilities and in the team, Aragon for understanding that there is still a lot of work to do if we want to be with the best and that all details are important. The Spanish performance, so different from the Australian one, has been an incentive. This week end I will try to show my best.”
Red Devils Superbike team and rider Michel Fabrizio in agreement with their sponsor General Invest will, be carrying a support message for the two Italian marine officers that are facing murder charges in India, on during this weekend’s second Superbike round of the season
Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are being charged with the murder of two fisherman last year when they were part of a military security team protecting a tanker from piracy, which has resulted in an intense, diplomatic and legal row over jurisdiction (Italy’s Foreign Minister resigned over his government’s decision to return the two marines to India).
“Vi aspettiamo a casa” (we are waiting for you at home) will be on the fairings of Fabrizio’s Aprilia and according to the team it’s not a political stand against India (who will be hosting World Superbikes for the first time this year), but a simple message of affection for the two marines and their families, and a way to keep the attention up the media attention on the complex situation.
Following some controversy regarding their decision to race with a support message for the two Italian marines, Red Devils team has been forced to reconsider their initiative, and will be at Aragon with just a white space on the fairings.
Danilo Soncini used to be the team owner of Supersonic Racing who competed in World Superbikes in 2010 (with Luca Scassa) and 2011 (with Maxime Berger) before pulling out and selling the team to Andrea Petricca who renamed the squad Red Devils Roma Team, with Soncini still linked to the Italian team through his Box&Box company.
The Italian manager unable to stay away from racing, resurrected Supersonic Racing and partecipated in the 2012 British Superbike season fielding Tommy Bridewell and Patric Muff on BMWs, but after the single season and despite reaching the Title Showdown and then finishing 6th, the team decided they would no longer be present in 2013 after not receiving support from BMW.
Soncini has now returned to Italy and has hooked up with Red Devils Roma in another capacity, and has been nominated their new sports director and he will also oversee the team’s Superstock effort and also have the job of finding new sponsors and scouting for new and talented racers.
“Danilo will be responsible not only to follow and report young talent but also to locate new partners that will help us to make our team more competitive,” said Andrea Petricca, talking about the new collaboration. “Red Devils Roma emerged precisely in Stock 1000, before moving to Superbikes and we are still linked to this category in which we would like to race some emerging young riders.”
While Danilo Soncini said, “Andrea called me and I couldn’t refuse. He asked me to cover the role I prefer, scouting and valorizing talents which it the real sporting side of racing. I’m proud to accept the role in this ambitious and passionate team, that has already shown in the first round their value, and I’ll help the team with my experience in marketing and sponsor management.”
After dominating most of the practice and qualifying practices during the weekend, Michel Fabrizio wasn’t able to transform his performances into a win, but he did obtain a third place podium in race 1 and a fourth place in race 2 which put him into third place in the provisional standings with 29 points behind the two Aprilia factory riders.
Michel Fabrizio: “We’re returning to Italy with two important results. The whole team worked very well and I would have liked to reward their efforts with a second podium after the one obtained in the first race. Unfortunately I did not succeed, but the result of this first round is undoubtedly positive. Now we want to continue like this, because I think we have a chance. The next race will be at Aragon, where I tried the RSV4 for the first time and was fast. It should be another good track for the Aprilia and we aim to be with the front runners because this is a championship that rewards constant results. I want to thank all our sponsors who enabled us to achieve these results. ”
Marco Melandri headed into the first round of the World Superbike championship as one of the favourites, but the BMW-backed Italian was extremely unlucky. In the first race he was wiped out from behind by Carlos Checa during lap 13, after the Spaniard outbraked himself entering Turn 4. After being in doubt whether he would be able to take part in the second race after his shoulder went out, he returned to the grid and battled for a third place podium and garnering 16 precious points, riding against his shoulder pain and chattering from his BMW.
However Melandri said he wasn’t worried just for himself, but also for Checa when he saw the Spaniard lying completely still on the side of the track, as he rushed over to him and found the Ducati rider with his eyes wide open, unable to answer but breathing. Melandri was quite upset on how the track personnel put Checa onto the stretcher which he defined like ‘a piece of plastic’ and that he shouldn’t have never been moved in that manner.
Melandri said that he further damaged the ligaments in his right shoulder in the incident and that he’ll be undergoing surgery on Wednesday and that he’ll be miss the private test that BMW organized for mid March.
“In race one I was working my way towards the front and had improved to third place, when I was hit from behind by Carlos and unfortunately I fell on my right shoulder. I don’t know why it happened, maybe he made a mistake or he had a technical issue, I just went down suddenly. I am sorry for Carlos, he is a professional rider and I wish him a speedy recovery. In race two, I fought within the leading group from the very beginning, despite the pain in my shoulder. In the closing laps I had Michel really close behind me trying to overtake me, but I succeeded in defending my position and battled for my place on the podium. In this type of situation, it is like winning for me. Regarding my shoulder, I have surgery planned on Wednesday, following a medical examination on Monday to define which kind of surgery I have,” commented Melandri.
After finishing on top in both Friday’s free practice and QP1, Michel Fabrizio remained on top the timesheets in the second qualifying session at Phillip Island. The Red Devil Roma Aprilia rider posted a stunning 1.30.387 after being hampered during the 45 minute session by a technical issue. The Italian’s lap shattered Carlos Checa 2011 pole position record by half a second.
Leon Camier continues to shine during this weekend as he finished second and not any easy feat considering that his Suzuki is 10-11 km slower than the Aprilias and BMWs. Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes was third and a mere 0.013s from Camier with nine riders in a second.
Aprilia factory rider Eugene Laverty was fourth, while Marco Melandri with his BMW was fifth sandwiched between the other Aprilia rider, Sylvain Guintoli. Leon Haslam concluded the session in 7th, while a bruised and battered Carlos Checa took his Panigale into 8th and ahead of Jonathan Rea who was 9th and still coming to grips with the new electronics that Pata Honda received just yesterday.
Michel Fabrizio was once again the fastest rider in the first qualifying practice at Phillip Island after dominating FP1, and topping the timesheets in the last eight minutes of the session with a best lap of 1’31″317 (slightly slower than in FP1) but is was enough to keep the resurgent Eugene Laverty at bay by a mere 0.075s and making it two Aprilia’s on the top.
BMW’s Marco Melandri ended his day in third place, a little more two tenths from the top, and he worked on his race pace for most the session, while Leon Camier was fourth holding off a trio of his fellow countryman, Chaz Davies, Leon Haslam and Kawasaki’s injured Tom Sykes all covered in less than half of a second.
Althea’s Davide Giugliano was seventh, followed by Sylvain Guintoli and Jonathan Rea who closed out the top ten. While an impressive Jamie Stauffer was 11th a little less than seven tenths from the top after just three days of testing with Pirelli tires.
The first free practice of the 2013 World Superbike opening round of the season at Phillip Island started ten minutes later than expected, due to the numerous crashes (12) that characterized the Supersport practice, which forced the session to be red flagged five different times.
Michel Fabrizio was the fastest rider during the first practice. The Italian riding is now riding a competitive Aprilia RSV4 Factory and he posted a flying lap of 1’31″218, well under Max Biaggi’s last year’s record and just three tenths off the 2011 Superpole record, and we can expect that Superpole record to be broken this weekend and his race pace was scarily constant.
The Italian was not only the fastest, but he left both Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam and Fixi Suzuki’s Leon Camier, second and third respectively, more than half a second adrift, with nine riders were covered in less than a second.
Aprilia factory rider Sylvain Guintoli was fourth ahead of the two BMW riders, Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri while Tom Sykes still recovering from his pre-season test wrist injury was 7th.
Jonathan Rea was 8th, followed by Carlos Checa who suffered a crash at Siberia. The Alstare rider was okay and returned to his garage on his own two feet, but with his leathers sadly in need of repair and team mate Ayrton Badovini already bruised and battered from last week’s test binned his Panigale again and at Swan Corner that left him down in 18th.
The first of the two-day of World Superbikes private testing at Phillip Island on the newly re-surfaced track saw some interesting - even if unofficial lap times - and a bevy of crashes due to the damp and insidious surface following an earlier rain shower.
Present for the test are Aprilia Racing, Kawasaki KRT, Ducati Alstare, BMW Motorrad GoldBet, Pata Honda, Crescent Suzuki, MR Racing, Althea and Red Devils Roma teams and two Supersport squads, Pata Honda and Yakhnich Motorsport.
Unofficially the fastest rider of the day was Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty - who last year was forced to skip the Australian round due to a pre-season testing hand injury - and he posted a best lap of 1’31″7 which was more or less equal to now retired team mate Max Biaggi’s fastest race lap year.
Leon Camier ended up second despite suffering a big crash that left him with bruises on his elbow and ankle, and team mate Jules Cluzel also crashed on the damp surface at turn 11 and he too was able to return to track and complete the day in 7th, but leaving the Fixi Crescent team mechanics with a massive amount of repair work to do.
Pre-season title favourite Tom Sykes also suffered an enormous one-off at Siberia, and apparently he has a suspected wrist fracture, and had to spend the afternoon session in the local hospital to undergo a check-up. Kawasaki team mate Loris Baz also tasted the gravel and he ended up 12th.
BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet’s Superbike team in 2013 will be BMW’s official squad with Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies, but to remember their 2012 season that saw the Italian team with Ayrton Badovini and Michel Fabrizio each taking a stunning and unexpected podiums at Silverstone and Sylvain Barrier win the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup championship title in the final round at Magny-Cours, they have released this highlight video for fans to enjoy.
Red Devils Roma Superbike team debuted in World Superbikes this season with Niccolò Canepa using a Ducati 1198, but next year has decided not to use the new 1199 Panigale (that replaces the 1198 in the championship) and will be switching to an Aprilia RSV4 Factory machine.
The Italian team will present new rider Michel Fabrizio along with its 2013 racing program next Sunday at the Vallelunga circuit during the last round of the CIV championship, before heading to the Motorland Aragon next Monday for a three-day test with the rest of the Superbike teams.
Source | bikeracing.it