Fit-again Al Sulaiti ready for WorldSBK challenge
30 Oct 2017 - 1:04
By Rizwan Rehmat / The Peninsula
Popular Qatari rider Saeed Al Sulaiti yesterday said he had regained ‘complete’ fitness ahead of this week’s final round of the WorldSBK Championship to be held under lights at Losail International Circuit.
The 32-year-old, who featured in all the races of last year’s WorldSBK Championship, underwent a surgery on his left wrist following his successful run in the Qatar SuperStock Championship.
“I am really excited about the WorldSBK ride this week. I am not short of confidence. I am 100 percent ready. I have been training well since I had my surgery during Ramadan,” Al Sulaiti told The Peninsula in an exclusive chat yesterday.
“I had a wrist injury. I did nothing but rest for the two months. I had to rest as there was no option. After the lengthy rest, I did go to Spain and test myself in a couple of races in which I finished in second spot in both,” Al Sulaiti added.
“Actually this week will be my first big test on how well I have recovered from the surgery. After this week, I will be able to gauge my fitness and chart out my racing schedule,” Al Sulaiti informed.
“The Qatar Championships starts in December and I intend to defend my title. I had great battles last season with Mashel (Al Naimi). He is a great rider. Our rivalry produced exciting battles on the circuit.
“I was pushing myself last season and I want to go to the next level. I know mentally that I am a better rider than I was last year or the years before that. Last season gave me motivation to be better and faster in the coming competitions,” he said.
“It will be totally different to what I had been doing in World SBK calendar last season. But I must say I will enjoy my break riding here. Surely we will get to see explosive action. I had been riding the 1000cc bikes and now I will have to switch to the 600cc bike. This involves different riding tactics.”
Al Sualiti said the coming week makes him eager to get into the pits at Losail Circuit.
“As a rider, I am delighted that I will be featuring in the final round of the WorldSBK Championship for the second time. I have benefited from my previous participation in 2016 in all rounds of the tournament. Last year I gained experience, self-confidence, knowledge of riders and manufacturers and became the first Qatari or Arab rider to feature in all rounds of this Championship,” Al Sulaiti said.
“Last season, QMMF and LCSC, opened the doors of competition with a new competition - the Qatar Superstock 600 - and I won the title. Because of my stellar performance, I and Mashel have been awarded the Wild Card for the final round of the WorldSBK Championship,” Al Sulaiti said.
“This has come about in recognition of my championship win in Qatar last season. I did my best to win the title last season and all of this did not come by chance. My best rival and buddy is the experienced Mashel. I hope I can defend my title next season also,” he said.
“I have returned to practice after a three-month break. I was injured when I took part in the MotoGP round at Losail Circuit in the Moto2 category. I suffered a severe injury to my left wrist. I needed a surgery but I postponed it because I was part of the Qatar Superstock 600 races.
“After the regular home season, I went to Aspetar Sports Medicine Hospital where I got treatment and then I proceeded to train with talented rider Abdullah Al Qubaisi. I have stepped up my training with a specific plan, a special programme with my trainer to boost my physical fitness as I approach the final round of the WorldSBK Championship,” Al Sulaiti said.
The 32-year-old rider was quick to acknowledge the support he enjoy from various quarters in Qatar.
“The presence of H E Salah Bin Ghanim Al Ali, Minister of Culture and Sports, at our races gives us great motivation. It is very gratifying to know he follows us riders,” Al Sulaiti said.
“I take this opportunity to thank the President of QMMF Abdul Rahman Al Mannai, the President of the Losail Circuit Sports Club, and Al Rumaihi, Vice President of LCSC, for making our dream come true of participating in a WorldSBK round at home circuit, in front of our own fans,” Al Sulaiti said.
“Last but least, I thank my sponsors Ooredoo for they way they have backed me. Their support is the reason I am competing so fiercely at the top level,” Al Sulaiti said.