The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda team has now completed round five of the Superbike World Championship with riders Hafizh Syahrin and Ryo Mizuno, who substitutes for injured Eric Granado this weekend. The round brought one point for the Malaysian and proved to be “an amazing experience” for the Japanese rider.
The sprint race got underway at 11am local time. Syahrin gained several positions through lap one to position eighteenth, followed by substitute rider Mizuno, twenty-first. The Malaysian made up another two places in the initial stages to move sixteenth on lap three. Mizuno was lapping slightly faster than the riders immediately ahead of him but unfortunately he was unable to get close enough to pass them. The race was brought to a premature end, on lap six, when an incident between Lecuona and Petrucci resulted in the sprint being red-flagged. While Syahrin did well to finish in fifteenth place, Mizuno crossed the line nineteenth, having made up six places with respect to his starting position.
Race 2 also ran in dry conditions in the early afternoon. Hafizh and Ryo held their respective starting positions, nineteenth and twenty-third, through the initial stages of the race. Mizuno’s race unfortunately came to an end already on lap two when a crash ruled him out of proceedings. The Malaysian rider gained ground through the central phase of the race, moving into sixteenth place. A consistent final few laps for Syahrin saw him make up one more position to reach the points zone and cross the line fifteenth.
The next WorldSBK championship round will see the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda team competing at Donington Park in the UK over the weekend of 30 June-2 July.
“Another point for us in race 2, but I’m a little disappointed in that I thought we could do a little more. Our pace wasn’t too bad in the earlier Superpole race, but we tried to find a little more for race 2. In doing so, the bike then offered very different feeling this afternoon and I had a harder time. I tried to run a consistent race and not make any mistakes, as I really wanted to finish the race. So we pocket another point and will try to remain positive as we prepare for the next round at Donington.”
“This WorldSBK experience has been amazing. I had a lot to learn on Friday of course, the track, the bike, the tyres, everything. On Saturday I felt like I had a little more confidence, and then for today we made quite a big change to the setup with which we gained about a second a lap. That was a big improvement, and I felt I could ride more comfortably but, unfortunately, in the early stages of race 2, I lost the front and crashed. So the weekend brought challenges, inevitably because this is a high-level championship, but it has been a really good experience for me. A big thank you to the whole team for giving me this opportunity.”