The second Supersport World Championship round is in play at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and, for the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team, the day brought various challenges.

With only a brief 10-minute warm-up in which to prepare for the afternoon’s race, the day did not get off to the ideal start. Pawi had a technical issue that unfortunately prevented him from exploiting the session. Toba on the other hand was making good progress but ended the brief phase with a crash at Turn 4. Fortunately, the Japanese rider was unhurt and able to count on his technicians to make the necessary repairs in time for the afternoon’s first race.

Race 1 ran in dry, sunny conditions, with the lights going out at 15.15 local time (CET). From the ninth row of the grid,

Toba did not make the best start and lost places off the line, finding himself thirtieth at the end of lap one. Pawi also dropped a couple of positions in the traffic through turn 1. It is increasingly challenging to make up time lost early on in a field that is 34-strong this weekend, but Toba nevertheless pushed hard to make up for his less-than-ideal start and was lapping slightly faster than the riders immediately ahead of him. Particularly during the second half of this 18-lap race, Kaito fought to systematically make up one position after another, progressing as far as twenty-fourth, before experiencing a drop in tyre performance in the latter stages and slipping one position to conclude twenty-fifth. Struggling to match his team-mate’s pace today, Pawi soon found himself losing contact with the group battling immediately ahead. Despite the gap that separated him from his closest rivals, Khairul did his best to hold firm, making up two positions in the later stages to finish twenty-eighth.

Kaito Toba 25th

“A very difficult race. First off, I didn’t make a good start and lost a lot of positions right away. I felt quite comfortable once I got going and it seemed relatively easy to stick with the group, but I found it was very tough to make passes. As the race went on, I managed to overtake a few riders, but the tyre prevented me from doing more – that was the main problem during today’s race actually. We need to make a plan to improve already tomorrow.”

Khairul Idham Pawi 28th

“In today’s warm up we had an electronics issue which prevented me from making the most of the session. Then in the race I struggled with rear grip, but also our overall speed prevents us from being more competitive. We will definitely make changes for race 2, to try and improve the rear so that there’s hopefully less spinning and more drive. We’ll keep working and I’ll try my best again in race 2.”