2020 MSBK: Zaqhwan Zaidi a class above the rest, new MSBK150 race class features cut throat racing action
After a much delayed start to the calendar, the 2020 Malaysian Superbike Championship (MSBK) resumed at Sepang International Circuit (SIC) on the weekend of 27 to 29 September. Four classes were contested – MSBK1000 and 600, MSBK250 and new inclusion to the racing fixture, MSBK150 for underbone motorcycles.
Racing this year has taken on a slightly different format, with the previous two-race weekend replaced by three races. Race 1 happens on Saturday after practice and qualifying in the morning while Race 2 and 3 are held on Sunday, with points awarded in each race.
As expected, Zaqhwan Zaidi, riding for Boon Siew Honda Racing Team on a Honda CBR1000RR, stamped his mark over all three races. A much diminished field caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, including the absence of close rival Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, meant Zaqwan saw little, if any, competition.
However, it was not all sunshine and roses for the 25-year old Selangor boy as he set himself a personal challenge to match his Asia Road Racing Championship race pace on what was essentially a stock motorcycle. “The bike we are using here at the MSBK is drastically different from what we had in the ARRC last year. Yes, it’s the same model, but this version is very close to standard. In effect, it’s a training bike and I used the opportunity to challenge myself to stay as close to ARRC race pace as possible,” Zaqhwan said.
At the end of the weekend, it was Zaqhwan on top, followed by Mohd Farid Badrul Hisam of Horizon Racing Team on a BMW S1000RR and Ahmad Daniel Haiqal, also on a BMW S1000RR, riding for MME Racing Team Malaysia. Moving on the MSBK600 class, the grid comprised of only four riders, again with numbers much diminished due the travel restrictions.
Mohd Ibrahim Mohd Norrodin, riding a Yamaha YZF-R6 for SIC Racing Team, emerged top of class after the weekend’s racing, followed by Arroyo Hakeem Anuar of Boon Siew Honda Racing Team and Mohd Helming Azlan of Hi-Rev SCK Honda Racing in second and third, both of whom were on Honda CBR600s.
It should be noted that the MSBK1000 and MSBK600 classes were combined to the reduced number of competitors. Ibrahim Norrodin’s race times, despite being on a 600 cc race bike, were enough to place him third overall in the MSBK1000 class.
Competition in the hotly contested MSBK250 class came down to Boon Siew Honda Racing Team’s Mohd Idlan Hakimi Raduan, SIC Racing Team’s Mohd Danial Syahmi and Hi-Rev SCK Honda Racing Team’s Mohd Izam Ikmal, who each scored wins during the weekend. Race 1 on Saturday saw Idlan take the win, with Race 2 going to Daniel Syahmi and Izam coming in first in Race 3.
New for the 2020 race calendar, the MSBK150 class, saw very close racing on the grid, with racers going elbows and knees and rubbing bodywork across the six lap race. Race 1 on Saturday saw a tight group of five riders in a tight group, with two riders trading elbows, resulting in both careening into the pit wall and crashing after they had crossed the finish line.
Ahmad Fazrul Sham of Cardinals Racing Team on a Y15ZR took honours at the conclusion of race weekend while Mohd Haziq Mohd Fairues of UMA Racing Yamaha Maju Motor Asia Team and Ahmad Fazrul’s team mate Mohd Iqbal Amri Abdul Malek came in second and third in the standings.
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