The inaugural Grand Prix of India is now underway at Buddh International Circuit in the Uttar Pradesh region of the country. This is a very special weekend for MIE Racing that, together with the support of sponsor PETRONAS and the Vision Track team, is competing in the Moto3 class this weekend with two wildcard entries, Malaysian rider Danial Shahril and Indian rider Kadai Yaseen Ahamed. 26-year old Ahamed, who hails from Chennai, is the only local rider on track during this very first Indian GP event, as he makes his Moto3 debut, while Shahril is competing in the category for only the second time, after making a first wildcard appearance earlier this season.
In hot and humid conditions, the Moto3 riders took to the Indian track at 9am local time (IST) for the first free practice session. Working with their technicians in dry conditions, the pair began to familiarise themselves with the track aboard their Honda NSF250R machines. Shahril was able to set a best of 2’04.486 by the end of this first 45-minute session, while local rider Ahamed recorded a 2’08.281.
The start of FP2 was slightly delayed due to logistical reasons but eventually got underway at 2pm local time (IST), and again in very hot conditions. During this second 50-minute phase, Shahril almost immediately improved on his best time of FP1 and continued to shave off precious tenths with every exit he made. Setting a best of 2’03.875, the 20-year old Malaysian concluded this first day of action in twenty-ninth position in the combined standings.
Ahamed, competing in Moto3 for the first time, was able to lower his earlier time by almost two seconds already in the early stages of FP2. And the Indian rider made further progress as the session went on, moving ever closer to his team-mate as he gradually gained confidence with both bike and track. An innocuous crash ten minutes from the end unfortunately prevented Ahamed from completing the session, his fastest time of the day therefore a 2’06.082.
“It’s a new track for us all of course, and so FP1 was quite challenging as there was a lot to learn. I focused on trying to find the right line and set up the bike ahead of FP2. I feel that I improved each time I went out, but I want to find more tomorrow, working to improve my line and better my lap times. We have more work to do in terms of the set-up but I like the track and am feeling optimistic. I will continue to do my best during tomorrow’s FP3 and qualifying session.”
Kadai Yaseen Ahamed
“I struggled a little in FP1 as I need to adapt to the bike, which is so different to the production bike, but I like the riding position and speed it offers. In FP2 I was able to make some improvement and learn from other riders, also following a few of them to gain some references. I was able to increase my speed and pace, but unfortunately crashed through turn 1 towards the end of the session; luckily I was unhurt. My target for tomorrow is to try to cut another two seconds from my time so that I can move closer to those ahead of me. This is a proud moment for me, competing here during the first Indian MotoGP weekend, and I want to use it to learn as much as I can, while enjoying the experience too.”