The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda team is on track at the Misano World Circuit for round five of the Superbike World Championship with Hafizh Syahrin and substitute rider Ryo Mizuno who takes the place of Eric Granado this weekend.
During the morning’s FP3, Syahrin was the first Superbike rider to improve on his best time of yesterday, lowering his reference by half a second to set a best of 1’36.255. Mizuno continued to work hard with his technicians, trying to make the most of the track time afforded by this final 30-minute practice as he builds confidence in what is a new championship for him.
The subsequent 15-minute Superpole session was unfortunately cut even shorter after a crash for another rider resulted in a red flag two minutes from the end. The session was not resumed, meaning that the riders missed out on the chance to potentially do better in the final stages. Hafizh nevertheless took another second off his previous best to qualify twentieth, on row seven, with fastest time of 1’35.247. On the other side of the garage, Ryo took part in his first ever Superpole. Unused to the format and with such limited time available, the Japanese rider set a 1’37.246 to finish twenty-fifth, meaning a ninth row start on the starting grid for him.
The first of the weekend’s race got underway at 2pm, with Syahrin and Mizuno lining up the seventh and ninth row of the grid respectively. Syahrin maintained his start position through the opening stages before losing a little ground and dropping behind team-mate Mizuno, twenty-second. The Malaysian was unfortunately forced to retire from the race less than mid-way through due to an electronic issue. Japanese rider Ryo expected a little more but did well to complete his first ever WorldSBK race, crossing the line in twenty-first position today.
“Unfortunately I was forced to return to the garage half way through as we had an electronics issue that prevented me from continuing. A little frustrating, as I was doing my best in the early stages to stick with the group pushing for the top fifteen, but it wasn’t my day today, I guess. Luckily, we have another chance tomorrow, so hopefully we can understand what happened in race 1 and find a way to move forward for Sunday’s races.”
“I can say that my first Superbike race was an interesting experience. I of course need more time to properly understand the bike, but I expected to do a bit better over race distance honestly. My times throughout the practices were gradually improving, but then in the race our lap times were a good few tenths from where we wanted to be. Anyway it’s been a good experience and we will now see what changes to make ahead of tomorrow’s races.”