Nasser bin Khalifa Al Attiyah, President of QMMF, is seen with riders at Losail International Circuit. The new racing season commenced on Saturday.
DOHA: Qatar’s Nasser Al Malki and Australian riders Alex Cudlin grabbed a win each on a dramatic day of action in the first round of the Qatar SuperBike held at Losail International Circuit.
The young Qatari rider braved plenty of distraction on the Losail Circuit to emerge winner in race one, the first battle of the new season.
In race one, the Qatari rider who started from the second position on the grid, struggled with pace and fell back but he could start again as there was a multiple crash in the fifth lap involving five riders.
The race was rescheduled to eight laps allowing Al Malki to pace himself and overtake race one winner Cudlin on the last lap.
Cudlin finished in second position ahead of Qatar’s Mishal Al Naimi who had a tough battle with Nina Prinz.
In the second race of the day, Cudlin battled pace issues but then exhibited a clam streak to stay clean and take the race.
“I didn’t have a good start. I was struggling to get off the line on the Kawasaki bike but I worked my way through in the middle of the race so I passed Nasser (Al Malki) and win the race,” Cudlin said later.
“It is really nice to win after the problem I had in race one but I really need to improve the bike as I still have chattering problems. But for sure we can fix it for the next rounds,” the defending champion said.
Al Malki finished in second spot.
“I am happy for the second race. At the beginning I was leading the race but in the sixth lap, Alex was pushing so hard that he passed by me with ease,” Al Malki said.
“We stayed very close for some laps but then there were slow riders that made me create a gap but it was not possible to overtake Alex. But I am happy for this second place, it is good for the championship and I hope to win the two races in the next round,” the Qatari added after securing podium finishes in both races.
The third place on the podium in race two was sealed by German female rider Prinz.
“In the second race, my plan was not to go so fast at the beginning and push a little more at the end,” Prinze said. “I am really happy for this podium and for the whole weekend. I feel very sorry that I crashed the Kawasaki bike and had to ride with an old Suzuki bike,” Nina said at the end of the race.
Algerian rider Walid Benterki was the first rider in the Losail Asia Road Racing Series (LARRS) to take the checkered flag.
Female rider Manca Katrasnik from Slovenia finished in second place while Czech rider Roman Kraus was third in the podium.
Nasser bin Khalifa Al Attiyah, President of Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) said he was pleased with the season’s first round.
“There is a big number of participants from different nationalities. Our championships have gown manifold,” Al Attiyah said. “There is a big challenge for all the participants to reach the podium as the competition is getting harder each time,” Al Attiyah, who is also an FIM Vice President, added.
“The great performance today of the female riders will encourage them to fight and improve in the following rounds.
“I am convinced that more female riders will join us. Moreover, we have with us Marielou Cruz who is part of the FIM Women Commission.
“She is pushing to have female riders taking part in our championship,” he added.