The Pirelli Malaysia Superbike Championship (MSC) 2015 reaches a critical stage this weekend as the event organiser Sepang International Circuit (SIC) has put together Round 3 and 4, providing a true test of fitness and character for the riders in their pursuit of glory and the coveted crown.
The race programme opens on Friday with the compulsory riders’ briefing scheduled at 9.30am before commencement of the free practice for all the competing categories – Superstock, Superbike, Supersport championships and a combined Production 250 and MGP3 session.
Qualifying will be held on Friday afternoon, which will also feature a special programme in support of the ASEAN Rides Festival 2015 – to be held at Precinct 2, Putrajaya this weekend, where SIC will also be promoting its Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix 2015.
“With four races in two days, it will be a massive test for us all. But I am actually not too worried about the fitness and the stamina of the riders. My biggest concern will be the bikes. So, everyone will need to ride smart this weekend. We need to preserve the bike to ensure it will last all four races – that’s a total of 100 points on the table. It will be a massive problem if you have technical issues on Race 1 of Round 3. You will not be able to make the necessary repairs,” says 2013 Superstock champion Ahmad Nashrul Baharuddin.
Currently second in the championship standing behind defending champion Steve Martin of Britain, Nashrul, who is also a former champion in the 150cc Kawasaki Cup and 135cc Production Bike of the then Malaysian Super Series (MSS), however, expects every rider to still push the limits this weekend.
“I don’t think the riders will ride any slower. Racers will be racers, they will push to the limit and I expect Steve will do the same and try to win all four races this weekend to take full control of the championship. I have competed in this series for many, many years and in many championships. One thing for sure, they will always get faster,” added Nashrul.
Riding a Kawasaki ZX10R for the Superstock Championship, Martin has been in unbeatable form – chalking a perfect score of 100 points by winning all four races in the previous two rounds. Martin, who also competes in the Superbike Championship this season, holds a 27-point advantage over his Malaysian challenger.
“It will be very interesting to see how Steve fares this weekend. He will be competing in eight races this weekend. It will be very demanding on any rider, but Steve is super fit and is very fast. He will remain as the rider to beat this weekend,” said Nashrul, who has amassed a total of 73 points.
Steve, who suffered a crash in Round 2 in the Superbike Championship, is out of the top five in the premier class, which has Rajini Krishnan at the top of the standings with 61 points. He is, however, expected to be closely challenged by defending champion Muhammad Zaqhwan Zaidi of Malaysia, who is also a former Moto2 rider.
Missing the opening round as he was competing in the Moto2 world championship, Zaqhwan topped Round 2 by collecting 45 points on his Honda CBR1000 machine and immediately jumped to joint second with Muhammad Zamri Baba, who is still recuperating from injury.
Not too far off from the championship battle, Mohd Yusni Mohd Jani, who is fourth with 42 points, and Leonardo Sachetto, who is fifth with 41 points, can take advantage of any slight mistake by the leaders and take over the leadership.
The Supersport Championship has been dominated by BikeArt Racing riders with defending champion Muhammad Farid Badrul Hisham and Hazlanshah Mohd Noor sharing the top two positions in the previous two rounds. With a total haul of 95 points, Farid, who has experience competing in the British Superbike Championship, holds a vital 10-point advantage over Hazlanshah, who finished second overall last season.
It will be interesting to see the impact of this four-race weekend on their championship battle this season.
Round 5 and the final round of the 2015 Pirelli Malaysia Superbike Championship will be held on 20 to 22 November, along with the Grand Finals of the 2015 KBS MAM Kapcai Endurance Championship.
PIRELLI MALAYSIA SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP 2015 RACE PROGRAMME – ROUND 3 & 4
Friday, 11 September 2015
0800 hrs – 0930 hrs Bikes Registration & Scrutineering
0945 hrs Riders Briefing
1015 hrs – 1045 hrs Superstock Practice Session
1100 hrs – 1130 hrs Production 250 / MGP3 Practice Session
1145 hrs – 1215 hrs Superbike Practice Session
1230 hrs – 1300 hrs Supersport Practice Session
Break / Friday Prayer
1445 hrs – 1515 hrs Superstock Qualifying
1525 hrs – 1545 hrs ASEAN Ride Convoy
1600 hrs – 1630 hrs Production 250 / MGP3 Qualifying
1645 hrs – 1715 hrs Superbike Qualifying
1730 hrs – 1800 hrs Supersport Qualifying
Saturday, 12 September 2015
0910 hrs – 0940 hrs Superstock Race 1 (12 laps)
1000 hrs – 1030 hrs Production 250 / MGP3 Race 1 (8 laps)
1050 hrs – 1120 hrs Superbike Race 1 (12 laps)
1140 hrs – 1210 hrs Supersport Race 1 (12 laps)
1400 hrs – 1430 hrs Superstock Race 2 (12 laps)
1450 hrs – 1520 hrs Production 250 / MGP3 Race 2 (8 laps)
1540 hrs – 1610 hrs Superbike Race 2 (12 laps)
1630 hrs – 1700 hrs Supersport Race 2 (12 laps)
Sunday, 13 September 2015
0910 hrs – 0940 hrs Superstock Race 3 (12 laps)
1000 hrs – 1030 hrs Production 250 / MGP3 Race 3 (8 laps)
1050 hrs – 1120 hrs Superbike Race 3 (12 laps)
1140 hrs – 1210 hrs Supersport Race 3 (12 laps)
1400 hrs – 1430 hrs Superstock Race 4 (12 laps)
1450 hrs – 1520 hrs Production 250 / MGP3 Race 4 (8 laps)
1540 hrs – 1610 hrs Superbike Race 4 (12 laps)
1630 hrs – 1700 hrs Supersport Race 4 (12 laps)