The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team has now concluded the British round of the Superbike World Championship at Donington Park. The weekend brought its challenges, but overall the team’s riders Hafizh Syahrin and Eric Granado can be satisfied with the progress made, particularly Syahrin who reached the points zone in the afternoon’s Superbike race.
In a change to the usual Sunday racing schedule, the Superpole sprint race got underway at 1pm local time (CET-1) and in cool and cloudy conditions. From the seventh and eighth rows of the grid, Syahrin and Granado made a good start and were lying nineteenth and twenty-first one lap in. While Hafizh did well to hold his position within his own particular group, ultimately crossing the line nineteenth, Eric’s physical condition added to the fact he has little experience of this track made it tough for him to stick with his closest rivals, with the Brazilian finishing twenty-fourth.
The second and final race of the weekend race began at 4pm but was almost immediately interrupted with the red flag after three riders were involved in a collision. The race was restarted shortly afterwards but reduced to a distance of 22 laps. Syahrin again got away well and was soon closing in on the points zone, sixteenth by lap two. The Malaysian held this position for a good part of the race, before making up ground in the final stages to close inside the points, in fifteenth place. Team-mate Granado did his best to run as consistent a race as possible but rode a largely solitary race towards the back of the field, eventually crossing the line in eighteenth position.
Six rounds into the championship and Syahrin positions twenty-first in the general standings with eight points scored thus far, while Granado is yet to get on the scoreboard. The seventh WorldSBK round will take place at the Imola circuit in Italy over the weekend of 14-16 July.
“Today’s race 2 was probably the best of the season so far for us. Yesterday I had hoped to score points, but we were on the limit with the tyres so I could only really follow the other riders around. Today we improved the bike a lot with respect to race 1 and the Superpole race. My pace was much more consistent, and I was very happy with that. I know we still have a lot of work to do to move forward, but we are constantly learning and making improvements step by step. And we’ve scored another point, continuing the trend of scoring points each weekend. Now we’ll see what we can do at Imola.”
“A difficult weekend for me, not helped by the fact we didn’t have much dry track time on Friday. I was using the first sessions to get to grips with the new track layout and then today I feel I’ve taken a step forward but sadly it wasn’t enough for me to be as competitive as I’d hoped. We still have to find something in terms of the setting so that I can have more control and feeling with the bike. It was a physically difficult weekend too as I haven’t been able to train properly over the last couple of months and hadn’t completed a full race weekend since Assen. So I was lacking a little strength as well as speed, but it’s all experience and we continue to learn and grow.”