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Fabrizio repeats his 2008 performance taking two podium finishes at Miller

Miller – Salt Lake City (USA) Sunday 31st May: Michel Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) takes home 36 important points having visited the podium twice, with a worthy second and third place finish in the races held today at Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City. Michel’s team-mate Noriyuki Haga, who had difficulty finding the right feeling with his Ducati 1198 this weekend, had a more difficult day and closed the two races in ninth and eighth position.

Race 1 became dramatic when, after five laps, Suzuki rider Muggeridge crashed and caused a red flag that led to a subsequent second heat. Recommencing from the positions they held before the red flag was shown, fourth and fifth, Ducati riders Michel and Noriyuki did not make the strongest start this time around and found themselves in eleventh and eighth place respectively at the end of the first lap. Michel made a great recovery, fighting his way through the pack from eleventh to fourth, which meant third place according to the aggregate race results. Noriyuki, still very sore from yesterday’s crash, found it difficult to make progress with his 1198 but, knowing that today is all about taking as many points as possible home, he held strong to come home in a valiant ninth position.

In Race 2 Noriyuki made a change to his bike’s setting but unfortunately it did not make a great difference to the feeling he had. Although he held third place for a few laps at the start, he was gradually overtaken by various riders including team-mate Fabrizio and concluded the 21-lap race in eighth position. Michel also made up a couple of places at the offset, and was in second behind Ben for the entirety of the race. Alhtough he remained close to Ben for the best part of the race, his efforts to stick with the frontrunner resulted in front tyre wear that in the final laps began to slow Michel down, causing him to lose a few seconds. Fabrizio did however finish a clear five seconds ahead of third-placed Honda rider Rea.

In the championship standings, Noriyuki continues to hold the lead though with a slightly diminished advantage of 265 points over American Spies who has 212. Fabrizio is in third place with 201 points. Ducati dominates the manufacturers classification with 311 points, Yamaha chases with 253.

Michel Fabrizio (Race 1 – 3rd, Race 2 – 2nd)

“Well Race 1 was quite hard, because after the restart I felt like a ping-pong ball, there were three or four guys coming at me from all directions causing me to lose some positions. I had to push hard to pass them again and it wasn’t easy but my desire to be up on the podium gave my the strength I needed and so I’m happy with the result. In the second race I got away well and did all I could to stick with Ben out front. The gap between us was about 1.5 seconds and I pushed hard to close it up, perhaps too hard, because in the last laps my front tyre was finished and I couldn’t do more to catch him. Ben was really strong today so I can’t complain that I didn’t win. I take away 36 valuable points and now we head to Misano where I’d like to be back up on the top step of the podium.”

Noriyuki Haga (Race 1 – 9th, Race 2 – 8th)

"I did not have a very good feeling with my bike in Race 1. It was very hot out there and I can’t say I was having an easy time. We changed the setting a little for the second race but I still wasn’t able to fight for the podium despite the fact that it was only a few seconds out of grasp. Unfortunately many riders were just stronger then me today. I am not 100% of course after my crash yesterday and I didn’t expect to win here today but I am happy to have taken points all the same, important points for the championship. I’ll get back in shape before Misano where I want to be back fighting for the win.”

RESULTS: Race 1 (aggregate) – 1. Spies (Yamaha), 2. Checa (Honda); 3. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox). Race 2 - 1. Spies (Yamaha), 2. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox), 3. Rea (Honda)

CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: Riders – 1. Haga (Ducati Xerox) 265; 2. Spies (Yamaha) 212; 3. Fabrizio (Ducati Xerox) 201; 4. Rea (Honda) 133; 5. Biaggi (Aprilia) 126; 6. Haslam (Honda) 122. Manufacturers – Ducati 311; Yamaha 253; Honda 206; Aprilia 129; Suzuki 113; BMW 60; Kawasaki 41

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