A well earned podium at Monza has filled Michel Fabrizio with renewed confidence ahead of round five of the World Superbike Championship in the United States.

The Alstare Suzuki rider finished third behind the two factory Yamahas and also set the fastest lap on his way to fifth in race one, proving the improved performance of the GSX-R1000 machine.

Despite a poor showing in 2010, Miller Motorsports Park has been a successful venue for the Italian and he feels the team is hitting form at the right time.

“Last year was not so good for me, but the year before that I got a second and a third place. It’s a very tough season this year and our team has been working very hard to give me a competitive bike and that’s why I was so happy to get on the podium at Monza – I felt that we deserved it.”

One of the unique challenges of the circuit situated near Salt Lake City is the altitude, with the track 4,419 feet above sea level, and Fabrizio described the effect it had on the bikes the first time he rode at the circuit.

“The first time we went out on the track here, I thought there was something wrong with my bike, because it seemed slow. But we all soon realised that it was because we were so high up and the engine performance was affected. It’s the same for everybody of course and now we are much more used to it.  The track is quite technical and there are a variety of curves to keep you on your toes.”

Unlike the Alitalia Aprilia team and the factory Yamaha and Kawasaki squads, Fabrizio races on his own within the Alstare Suzuki team, and while he feels that has slowed his progress with the bike, he believes they are starting to unlock the true potential from the GSX-R1000.

“It’s always a mixed blessing being in a one-rider team because although you get a lot of attention, there is nobody to exchange information with. For sure, if there were two riders in the team, we would probably progress more quickly. But that’s not the case, so we all just have to get down to it and do the best we can. After the last round, I am thinking that more podiums are possible and it would be great to get one – or maybe two!”

Racing in a one-man team doesn't seem to be hindering Althea Ducati's Carlos Checa who leads the championship by 27 points from Marco Melandri, with Fabrizio 71 points off the lead in seventh.