The MIE Racing Honda Team is back in action this weekend, competing in round three of the 2022 Superbike World Championship which is now in play at the Portuguese track of Estoril.
Today saw riders Leandro ‘Tati’ Mercado and Hafizh Syahrin take to the track for the first two free practice sessions, during which they kept their heads down and worked hard with their technicians to identify a solid setup for their CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADES. The morning’s opening practice session ran in sunny conditions and on a dry track. A best of 1’39.743 for Mercado saw the Argentinian place twentieth at the end of session one, followed by team-mate Syahrin, twenty-second with a time of 1’40.551.
Back out later in the afternoon for the second practice, both riders were quickly able to improve on their best times of the morning, despite the higher track temperatures. Mercado closed day one in nineteenth position in the combined standings with a 1’38.528, while his Malaysian team-mate Syahrin placed twenty-first with a 1’38.933. The MIE Racing Honda duo will now analyse the data collected today as they prepare for tomorrow’s final practice, Superpole and the first race of the weekend.
“Today was a really tough day; we have no data here because we didn’t come to Estoril last year. We started with the base set-up from Assen and then worked on both the bike setup and the electronics throughout the day. In FP2 we made a little step forward and I felt better on the bike but we are still struggling especially through the slow part of the track. We will try to take another step forward tomorrow with the goal of improving a little on our qualifying position compared to the first two races.”
“This is my very first visit to this track, but I like it – it’s a bit different to the others in that it’s quite technical technical and narrow. Yesterday when I completed a lap on foot, it seemed wide but on the bike you realize just how tight it is. I don’t feel bad at the end of the day because we have been able to significantly lower our morning times but we still need to improve of course. We are looking to find better traction at the rear, the same as my team-mate when we compare our sensations in fact. So far, we cannot exploit the potential of the soft tyre. Normally you can improve a lot with the qualifying tyre but we are not able to do that. So, we’ll keep working with the team, trying to push hard every time we exit.”