The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team is at the Nevers Magny-Cours Circuit in France with riders Hafizh Syahrin and Hannes Soomer, competing in round nine of the 2023 Superbike World Championship
After a final practice session this morning, which was of use to both Syahrin and Soomer considering that the former is returning from injury and the latter has limited experienced aboard the CBR1000RR-R, the duo lined up for the Superpole qualifying session. Both riders were soon able to make their quickest laps of the weekend so far. Continuing to lower their lap times, by the end of this short 15-minute phase, Soomer had set a best of 1’38.105, closely followed by team-mate Syahrin with a 1’38.132. These times meant that the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda duo qualified for the afternoon’s race in twenty-second and twenty-third position.
The first of the weekend’s races got underway a little late due to some technical problem on track. Once the lights went out, both Syahrin got away well from the eighth row of the grid. The Malaysian quickly made up four positions as he worked to get into a rhythm, but then slipped back to find himself twenty-third, just behind Soomer, twenty-second. The Estonian and the Malaysian each made up two positions mid-race although Hannes then lost ground when he had to complete a long-lap penalty (for cutting turn 6). Doing their best to maintain consistent pace all the way to the line, Syahrin finished race 1 in eighteenth place ahead of Soomer, twenty-first.
Hafizh Syahrin P18
“At last we have finished a race after I was forced to sit out the last two months due to injury. It’s been a long time since I rode the bike of course, and so I’m pleased to be back and to be physically able to complete the race. I wasn’t feeling totally comfortable in the early stages of the race, but I remained focused and over the last ten laps I was better able to manage the grip and could lap consistently, eventually finishing P18. We need more grip at the rear as it’s not easy to exit the slow corners at speed, especially in the hot conditions, but hopefully we can take another step tomorrow. Physically speaking I feel a little sore to be honest, my muscles need to get used to the physical challenge of racing again!”
Hannes Soomer P21
“We had a good FP3 and Superpole session but then in the race I made a bad start and then got a long-lap penalty too, so that was that really. We’ve collected some useful data anyway, which we will try to exploit in tomorrow’s races.”