The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team is on track for the penultimate round of the Superbike World Championship, happening this weekend at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal.
Riders Hafizh Syahrin and Eric Granado completed the first two practice sessions in warm and sunny conditions, making gradual progress throughout the day. Although both have previous experience of the track, they used the morning’s first session to refamiliarize themselves with the complex layout and make some initial modifications to the set-up of their CBR1000RR-R machines. A fastest time of 1’43.005 for Syahrin and a 1’43.803 for Granado saw the pair place twentieth and twenty-fourth by the session’s end.
The work continued for the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda team during the afternoon’s second practice, which ran on a hotter track (43°C). Malaysian rider Hafizh focused on his preparation for the races, considering that the weekend’s action is likely to play out in similarly high temperatures. He was able to match his morning’s times but not quite able to improve on them, also considering that he found himself struggling with stomachache during the session. Syahrin therefore closed twenty-third in the day’s combined standings. His Brazilian team-mate Eric was meanwhile able to shave four tenths off his earlier time to place twenty-fourth with a 1’43.429.
Hafizh Syahrin P23
“This morning went well and then this afternoon we focused on making a few small changes to try and improve the performance of the bike. I unfortunately felt like I had some stomach problems, and this left me feeling quite weak with no energy during FP2. I will go to the Clinica Mobile to try and understand what’s wrong and hope to recover in time for tomorrow. But all in all, not bad today. We didn’t complete many laps, but we concentrated on understanding how to improve the bike for tomorrow – we have some ideas so hopefully we can move in that direction, in the hope that I feel better physically of course.”
Eric Granado P24
“It’s always nice to have two consecutive race weekends so that you can carry straight on with the work. This morning we assessed the differences between the bike we have now and what we had pre-season. We still need to refine the settings and electronics, considering how technical and undulating this track is, and I myself need some more laps in order to better understand the lines. It’s a very physical track and so we need to work to have a stable bike with which we can complete the race in a good state. Today’s result isn’t what we’re looking for, but we were largely focused on race preparation.”