The Pata Honda team will compete for the first time in Turkey in this weekend’s 11th round World Superbike championship event at Istanbul Park with a weekend schedule that runs an hour earlier than other SBK events.
The 5.338km Hermann Tilke-designed circuit, which was completed just over eight years ago, lies on the Asian side of Istanbul and, for the Pata Honda team and riders, it will be a first racing visit to the Turkish city.
The team will be without regular rider Jonathan Rea, who broke his left femur after crashing on another rider’s oil on 1 September at the Nürburgring in Germany. The 26-year-old underwent surgery that evening and is optimistic about a relatively quick rehabilitation for his injury.
Rea will be replaced at Istanbul Park by Italian rider Michel Fabrizio, who has been competing in the 2013 World Superbike championship with another team. The 28-year-old from Rome currently lies in eighth place in the 2013 championship standings with one podium finish in the opening round at Phillip Island in Australia.
Fabrizio joins Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam who continues his own rehabilitation from a broken leg sustained in a practice crash at Assen in The Netherlands in April. The 30-year-old British rider has been getting back up to speed over the last few races and will be looking to improve on his season’s best result of seventh last time out at the Nürburgring.
I’m really excited about going to race in Istanbul, even though some of the other Superbike riders have ridden there before. I’ve seen a few of the GP races there on video and it looks pretty awesome, but I won’t really know how it is until I get out there on the bike on Friday morning. We made some more progress last time in Germany but, although I was hanging on to the back of the leading group in race two, we still had some issues. But I do feel like I’m finally in a position – both physically and with the bike – to be fighting for podiums again. We need a few more things to fall into place for that to happen, but we’re nearly there.
I am very happy to come back to the Honda CBR after my earlier experience with the DFX Honda Team. To race with the Ten Kate boys in the Pata Honda team is a real honour for me and, of course, I will do my best to get Jonathan’s machine near to the front. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish Jonathan a fast recovery from his injury and I would like to thank the whole Honda Superbike team for their hard work to fix the bike in time for me to race in Istanbul.
Michel Fabrizio – career details
2002: 125cc GP World Championship
2003: FIM Superstock 1000 champion (Suzuki)
2004: MotoGP World Championship (10 races – Honda), World Supersport championship (two races – Honda)
2005: World Supersport championship (Honda) – 5th
2006: World Superbike championship (Honda) – 11th
2007: World Superbike championship (Honda) – 11th
2008: World Superbike championship (Ducati) – 8th
2009: World Superbike championship (Ducati) – 3rd
2010: World Superbike championship (Ducati) – 8th
2011: World Superbike championship (Suzuki) – 12th
2012: World Superbike championship (BMW) – 11th
2013: World Superbike championship (Aprilia) – current position 8th
2013 World Superbike championship, round 11
Intercity Istanbul Park, Turkey – weekend schedule (local times – GMT+3)
Friday 13 September
11.45-13.15 Free practice
15.30-16.15 Qualifying 1
Saturday 14 September
08.45-09.30 Qualifying 2
11.30-12.15 Free practice
14.00-15.14 Superpole 1
14.21-15.33 Superpole 2
14.40-15.50 Superpole 3
Sunday 15 September
11.00 Race 1 (19 laps 95.226km)
14.30 Race 2 (19 laps 95.226km)