The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda team is at the Nevers Magny-Cours Circuit in France this weekend for round nine of the 2023 Superbike World Championship.

Estonian rider Hannes Soomer is standing in for Eric Granado this weekend, while the Brazilian competes in MotoE at Misano. Soomer was the team’s only representative on track during the morning’s first practice, with returning Hafizh Syahrin waiting for some assessments, medical checks and medical report to be finalised.

Soomer used the morning’s first free practice to refamiliarize himself with the CBR1000RR-R that he previously rode at the Most round. Focused on understanding the track and building confidence with his bike, the Estonian set a fastest time of 1’40.029 during FP1, placing twenty-second as a result.

By the afternoon Syahrin was pleased to receive the go ahead to compete from circuit medical staff and was therefore able to take to the track for FP2 alongside Soomer. The Malaysian had sustained injury in early July during testing at Suzuka and was forced to miss both the Imola and Most rounds as a result. This second practice therefore saw Hafizh working to get back into a rhythm with his team and bike. A red flag brought the session to a momentary halt ten minutes in, after Vierge suffered a crash, and again just a few minutes after it resumed, following a crash for another rider. Despite the interruptions, both Hannes and Hafizh made progress as the session went on, the Estonian setting a best of 1’39.671 and the Malaysian a 1’40.105. These results saw the duo position twenty-second and twenty-fourth in the day’s overall standings.

Hafizh Syahrin P24

“It feels great to be back on the bike after what’s been a very long break. I’ve enjoyed riding but I know we’re still lacking some feeling with the bike, especially given the very hot conditions here, which makes it more difficult. I missed FP1 so I was starting from scratch in FP2 of course. Not a bad start I’d say, but we need to make a step tomorrow in order to find more speed and continue to improve.”

Hannes Soomer P22

“I think we had a good day today, making some modifications to the suspension and electronics to try and find a solution that I feel more comfortable with. And tomorrow we will do our best to go faster!”

Full Results *Courtesy of WorldSBK