The MIE Racing Honda Team has today competed in the first race of the 2022 WorldSBK season at the Motorland Aragón circuit in Spain, with both Leandro ‘Tati’ Mercado and debuting Hafizh Syahrin crossing the finish line, overcoming all the challenges they encountered during the practice sessions.
After a final free practice session this morning, in which both MIE Racing Honda riders were able to improve on the times they had set yesterday, it was time for the Superpole qualifying phase. Mercado completed a couple of fast laps during the short 15-minute phase, closing twenty-second with a time of 1’51.689. Syahrin was meanwhile able to experience the Superpole format for the first time, finishing with a fastest time of 1’52.012 to place right behind his team-mate in twenty-third place. The two MIE Racing Honda riders therefore qualified on the eighth row of the grid for the weekend’ first race.
At 2pm CET it was time for the opening race of the season, which fortunately ran in dry, stable conditions. Syahrin got away well, making up three positions to place twentieth by the end of the first lap, his team-mate Mercado close behind. Six laps into the race and the team-mates had swapped positions, Tati lying twenty-first, followed by Hafizh. The pair were able to make up one position apiece in the later stages, thus concluding this opening race of the 2022 season in twentieth (Mercado) and twenty-first (Syahrin) place.
“Today was a tough race, although we were able to make a small step forward compared to yesterday in terms of our feeling with the bike and the set-up. But this kind of race is not what we expected, especially considering how we finished last year, on the up. We wanted more here, but we have to be realistic. We started late and there are a lot of things we need to put right. Right now we must focus on our work, cover some miles, and try not to think about the race results but work on improving the set-up. This will be our goal tomorrow, to finish the race and collect as much information as possible.”
“We have a lot of things to learn and improve upon based on what we experienced in today’s first race, and we will work to see what we can do already in tomorrow’s Superpole race and race 2. There are some points of the track where we need to improve and we need to work to find better traction in order to be quicker out of the corners, but the important thing for now is to not make any mistakes and complete the races to collect as much data as possible. We need more track time of course as we didn’t complete many winter tests, but I am confident that we will be able to improve on our performance and take further steps as we move forward.”