The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda team was back on track at Donington today for day two of the sixth Superbike World Championship round. In the first of the weekend’s races, riders Hafizh Syahrin and Eric Granado crossed the line seventeenth and nineteenth respectively.
At 9am local time, the riders were out for the third and final practice. Conditions were already an improvement on Friday’s full wet track, but the duo were unable to lower their lap times as the asphalt remained damp in certain sections. Syahrin and Granado instead focused on making final adjustments in preparation for the qualifying session.
The Superpole ran a couple of hours later and again in dry albeit cloudy conditions. Malaysian rider Syahrin set a best of 1’28.444 to finish twentieth, while Granado, who continues to gain knowledge of this ‘new’ track, set a 1’29.859 to place twenty-third. This meant that the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda riders qualified on the seventh and eighth rows of the grid for the afternoon’s race 1.
The lights went out on the first race of the weekend at 2pm local time. Both Syahrin and Granado made up several positions through the very first corners, positioning seventeenth and nineteenth one lap in. Hafizh got into a good rhythm through the central stages, battling with riders in his group, while team-mate Eric worked to keep pace with that same group. Although gaps gradually opened up, both PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda men were able to maintain their positions to the line, with Syahrin closing seventeenth and Granado placing nineteenth.
“Not an easy race for us today. I was trying my best to reach the points zone but I was on the limit with the front tyre and so I wasn’t fully confident on the brakes. I tried to get close to the riders immediately ahead so that I could battle with them, but I couldn’t quite get there. A little disappointing as I thought I might be able to better, but it seems we are struggling a little bit on the new asphalt. Anyway, we’ll continue to work and do our best to improve in tomorrow’s races.”
“Today’s race was my very first at this track and it was another new experience, because it’s a very difficult and technical layout and you can only really understand it by completing many laps. I set my fastest time on the very last lap of the race, so at least that means I was improving and getting to grips with the layout, even if the times are not where we want to be of course. But we will put our heads down and continue working in preparation for tomorrow, when we hope to be able to take another step in the Superpole race and Race 2.”