The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda team and riders Hafizh Syahrin and Eric Granado are competing in the sixth round of the Superbike World Championship which is currently in play at the Donington Park circuit in the UK.
Syahrin and Granado were out for the weekend’s first free practice this morning, but the session ran in increasingly wet conditions, which inevitably impacted on riders’ lap times. Both worked systematically with their technicians despite the unstable conditions and were able to make gradual progress throughout this first 45-minute practice. Granado used the track time to get to grips with a track he has never visited until now, while for Syahrin it was a case of refamiliarizing himself with the layout. By the end of the opening session, Syahrin had set a best of 1’30.848 to place twenty-second and team-mate Granado a 1’31.166 to finish twenty-third.
Later in the day and in similarly damp conditions, both Hafizh and Eric remained in the garage in the initial stages, as did the rest of the SBK field. The pair took to the track for the final ten minutes or so, completing a few laps and placing fourth and sixth at the session’s end. The track remained wet throughout though, which meant that neither rider was able to improve on their earlier lap times. This meant that the day’s combined standings mirrored those of FP1, with Hafizh finishing twenty-second and Eric twenty-third.
The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda team will be back out at Donington tomorrow for the final free practice session, the Superpole qualifying phase and the first of the weekend’s races.
“Conditions were tricky today, pretty mixed throughout the day and on-off rain. In the final fifteen minutes of FP2 we were able to find quite good feeling with the wet tyres on what is new asphalt here at Donington. In FP1 we worked mainly with the slick tyres but didn’t have much opportunity to make changes to our set-up. I hope we can pick up the pace if the weather permits tomorrow and if it’s going to be wet, I’d prefer full wet conditions rather than the intermittent rain we’ve had today.”
“I’m really pleased to be back with the team and back riding my bike after a two-month break. I really like what I’ve seen of the track so far but of course our riding time and progress has been limited by the rain today, which is a pity. Anyway, we’ll take what we’ve learned today and hope for better conditions tomorrow so that we make the most of the final practice and prepare for Superpole and race 1.”