PETRONAS MIE Racing is back in action at the Sepang International Circuit, where it is competing in the Moto2 category of the PETRONAS Grand Prix of Malaysia as a wildcard entry with riders Azroy Anuar and Helmi Azman as part of its ongoing project to help young Asian riders progress on the international stage with the support of PETRONAS.
On track for Friday’s free practice sessions, the PETRONAS MIE Racing RW Team worked hard to assist rookies Anuar and Azman as they acclimatised to new machinery, a very high-level category, and a whole new squad at the challenging Sepang circuit. During the morning’s FP1, which ran in hot and humid conditions (air temp. 31°, humidity 75%), the duo did their best to find feeling with their Kalex machines. Making small adjustments with their technicians throughout the course of the 40-minute phase, both riders made gradually improvement. By the end of this opening session, Anuar has recorded a fastest time of 2’11.022 to place thirty-first, while a best of 2’12.225 for Azman saw him place thirty-second.
In the afternoon and in similarly steamy conditions, the Moto2 riders were back on track for FP2. With another 40 minutes of track time to exploit, Anuar and Azman got straight to work, with both able to improve on their FP1 times already in the opening stages. The two young Malaysians showed grit and determination as they pushed to close in on their nearest rivals. Lowering his respective lap times by a full second, Anuar set a best of 2’10.084 to consolidate thirty-first position. Azman made significant improvement during the final ten minutes, shaving almost a second and a half off his earlier reference to close with a quickest time of 2’10.807.
#20 Azroy Anuar P31
“It’s been a year since my Moto2 wildcard at Sepang last year, so everything feels quite new for me coming into the weekend. It was a little difficult at first, but I’ve gradually got back into it. Now we need to check all the data so see how we can improve on today’s performance. Tomorrow we have both FP3 and qualifying in which to work and my aim will be to try and improve my riding particularly through the turns and on the brakes. We’ll also make some adjustments to the set-up and, hopefully, we’ll be able to see a good improvement in terms of lap times compared to how I did last year, if the weather and track conditions permit.”
#32 Helmi Azman P32
“I feel very good at the end of day one but it’s the first time I’m riding the Moto2 bike of course, and so there’s a lot to learn. My goal today was to start understanding the bike and work with my team to adapt to the machine in terms of both power and chassis as quickly as possible. We still have a great deal of work ahead of us, but I’m doing my best to improve in every session, focusing particularly on my body position on the bike as this can help me improve my handling so we can do more tomorrow in the final practice and qualifying.”