WorldSBK – The learning curve continues for Syahrin and Granado in race 1 at Assen
The PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team continues its hard work at the Assen TT Circuit, crossing the line nineteenth and twenty-first in today’s 21-lap Superbike race with riders Hafizh Syahrin and Eric Granado.
The morning’s third and final practice ran on a damp track, with Syahrin electing to make a few laps in the second half of the session while Granado remained in the garage for the duration. Back out a little later for Superpole, which took place in dry conditions, the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda duo completed initial laps on race rubber before pitting to mount the qualifying tyre. Improving by more than half a second on his best practice time, Eric set a 1’35.598 to qualify twenty-first for the afternoon’s race. Meanwhile, a best of 1’36.078 for Hafizh saw him close in twenty-fourth position, which translated into an eighth row start for the first of the Dutch round’s races.
The first 21-lap Superbike race got underway at 2pm local time. On a dry track, Granado made a good start, moving into twentieth position through the initial stages, followed closely by team-mate Syahrin, twenty-first. Having slipped back a few positions, the Brazilian worked hard through the central stages of the race to try to make up the lost ground, not an easy task considering the gaps that were beginning to open up. Lying nineteenth (Hafizh) and twenty-first (Eric) at the mid-race point, the pair held these positions to the line, unfortunately unable to reach the points zone today.
Hafizh Syahrin P19
“We didn’t have the best qualifying session because the bike and I were not in harmony for some reason and so we found ourselves quite far back down the grid. I made a good start when the race began, but a few laps in I was stuck behind Sykes who had an issue with his bike and I lost contact with those ahead as a result. Generally speaking, my pace wasn’t bad so I am optimistic that we can do better in tomorrow’s races. We will try to improve further in warm-up and then give it our all in the sprint race and second long race.”
Eric Granado P21
“Today’s Superpole went quite well and I think we took a solid step in terms of the flying lap already with respect to yesterday’s sessions. But then in the race I had trouble maintaining the pace. I didn’t make a good start and so already lost a lot of time in the initial laps. Then I almost suffered a highside at one point and that saw me drop back down the field, after which I was unable to get back into the kind of rhythm I would have expected. Fortunately, we have two more chances already tomorrow to improve and try to take a step forward.”