Fabien Foret is hoping to kick off his title challenge this weekend as the World Supersport Championship returns to action at Monza.
The Frenchman's season has been blighted by accidents which have left him carrying injuries through the first three races.
Accidents at Phillip Island and Donington left him with no points on the board, but Foret kept his head during a chaotic race at Assen to take second.
While not 100% fit, the 2002 champion feels he is in better shape that he has been all season, and is hoping to make up ground on championship leader Luca Scassa.
“I still have a few little sharp pains, but the back is generally OK now and is actually more comfortable when I'm on the bike. The fingers are also better and the one I damaged at Donington is even nearly the right shape now! I'm pretty excited to ride here because I'm in the best condition to race that I've been in this season.”
“I think that after May – because we don't go to America – I will be 100%, but even this weekend I don't expect to have any issues with my body. We'll see for sure tomorrow, but I like Monza and the Ten Kate technicians can normally produce quite a fast bike for the circuit, so I'm looking forward to the weekend.”
Florian Marino enters the weekend three points behind his Hannspree Ten Kate Honda teammate after coming away empty handed from Assen after a weekend that promised so much.
The 18 year old rookie went quickest in Friday qualifying before dropping to fifth on the grid, and was looking well placed for a podium finish before being taken out by Scassa.
Marino has achieved success at the high speed circuit before and is hoping to pick up where he left off in the Netherlands.
“I will try to improve again here at Monza and do well for the team to continue in the same way as Assen when things definitely were better. I got on the podium here last year in the Superstock race but I was actually in front as we came out of Parabolica on the last lap. I ran wide and off the track but I still was third, so I hope for at least the same on Sunday. Luckily I got no serious injuries in the crash at Assen, which was really disappointing as I felt strong and thought that a podium was possible. I hope I can have another chance here at Monza.”
Team manager Ronald ten Kate is hoping the Dutch squad can convert their potential into points, and start to make inroads in the championship standings.
“For the first time this year, Fabien will be almost fully fit here at Monza so we hope that he can continue with the momentum that he generated with his podium finish at Assen. Unfortunately, the chance of a similar result was taken away from Florian and it would have been great to get his first podium at our home race. However, he has shown that he has the potential to run at the front and we'll be working hard to make that possible for both riders this weekend.”
Yamaha ParkinGO rider Luca Scassa enters his home race with 50 points, leading the championship by three points from Broc Parkes (Kawasaki Motocard.com) with Assen winner Chaz Davies five points adrift of his teammate in third.