The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda team and riders Hafizh Syahrin and Eric Granado were out on track at Barcelona today for the first race making up the fourth Superbike World Championship round. While Syahrin reached the points zone, crossing the line fifteenth, team-mate Granado unfortunately suffered a crash which has left him concussed and therefore unfit to take part in the track action.
The Superpole session ran in the late morning in warm and sunny conditions. Granado suffered an innocuous crash at the end of the previous free practice session, but his technicians were able to repair his bike in time for qualifying. With only 15 minutes available to them, Syahrin and Granado worked hard to put together a clean lap, though the session was interrupted two minutes from the end when a crash for another rider called for his bike to be removed from the run-off area. Although the session resumed with just over two minutes on the clock, Granado was nevertheless able to set his fastest time in the final seconds. A best of 1’42.297 saw him place eighteenth, for a place on the sixth row of the grid for the afternoon’s race. Syahrin’s fastest time came earlier on in the session, the Malaysian closing twenty-first with a time of 1’42.456 to secure a seventh-row start.
The weekend’s first 20-lap race ran in the early afternoon in high temperatures. Syahrin held his starting position through the opening laps, followed closely by Granado, nineteenth. On lap four, Eric suffered a crash at turn 11 that unfortunately ruled him out of the race and also saw the race stopped with a red flag. The Brazilian was taken to the circuit medical centre before being transported to hospital General de Catalunya in Barcelona, where doctors diagnosed concussion but ruled out any fractures. Eric will nevertheless remain in hospital overnight under observation, which unfortunately means that he is unfit to compete in tomorrow’s races.
The race was restarted a short time later and reduced to a distance of 17 laps. Riders began from the positions they held at the time of the red flag, meaning that Syahrin started from seventeenth on the grid. Working hard to get into a rhythm, the Malaysian moved up into the points zone on lap four. He worked hard to maintain fifteenth place for a good part of the race, determined to score points again this weekend. And a consistent second half allowed Syahrin to do just that, crossing the line fifteenth.
Hafizh Syahrin P15
“I was happy with my rhythm at the start of the race but things became harder towards the end as I had to work hard to manage the tyre. It was difficult to maintain our pace and I even came close to crashing a few times. One point is better than nothing of course, but I believe I can be fighting for top twelve. The grip has been an issue again today so we need to look at the data now and see if we can improve something there for tomorrow’s races. It’s important that we take a step in this regard tomorrow, maybe already in warm-up, and then see if we can do more in the next races.”