Veteran Al Naimi strikes early blows
By Rizwan Rehmat / The Peninsula
Veteran biker Mishal Al Naimi yesterday thrilled fans with slick riding, grabbing honours in both races of the first round of the Qatar Superstock 600 series.
Al Naimi edged past arch-rivals Sultan Al Sulaiti and Nasser Al Malki to nail wins in both 12-lap races at Losail International Circuit under lights.
In race 1, the popular Qatari rider clocked a time of 25:10.279 to pick up 25 points.
Al Sualiti, one of Qatar’s finest riders, clocked s only 0.080 seconds slower and finished with a time of 25:10.359.
Al Malki – who has represented the QMMF Racing Team in the past – finished with a time of 25:14.080, just 3.801 seconds slower than Al Naimi.
Al Nami, who grabbed the pole position in the Superpole, grabbed the lead during the second half of the race. Despite threatening moves from Al Sulaiti and Al Malki, Al Naimi retained his composure and did not allow any gap to those shadowing the Qatari veteran rider in race 1.
“I am very happy with this result,” Al Naimi said after the two races.
“To get these results makes me very pleased for the Ooredoo team. “
“But I must admit that I didn’t expect such a close fight with Saeed and Nasser,” he added.
“When I started the race, I felt I was very fast and after 3 laps I looked back and I saw Saeed and Nasser right behind me and I thought I cannot push until the end of the race like this and I kept pushing,” he said.
“I am lucky that I won the race in the last lap. It was a very good race. I really enjoyed the competition,” Al Naimi said.
In the sixth lap, Al Sulati overtook Al Naimi and tried to keep this position until the end of the race but in the last lap, Al Naimi was not to be denied as he slipped passed the former and clinched the race with a narrow lead.
“It was a dramatic race, one of best the races,” Al Sulati said.
“I have to say I really I enjoyed the race. I was expecting a fight but not from the start until the end,” he added.
“When it was five laps to go I tried to overtake Mishal and create a gap but unfortunately it was not possible to get the distance that I was looking at,” he said.
“In the straight line of the last lap, he overtook me. But I have to say that I am happy with my performance but not with the second position. I will push in the second race,” Al Sulaiti said.
“I take this opportunity to say that congratulations go to all the riders, especially the winner. I would also like to thank QMMF and LCSC for their support of this series,” Al Sauliti said. Al Malki, who finished in third spot, said luck was not on his side.
“I am very happy today, but I would say I was not lucky enough,” Al Malki said.
“The race in the beginning was good with the bike and tyres but after seven laps I started to lose my feeling in the bike and I slid a lot with the rear tyre,” he added.
“The suspension, I think it was stuck when I pushed. I didn’t like this lap time. I feel I can go better times. The problem was that I couldn’t push the bike more.
“I started to lose the grip and that cost me a lot lap by lap. Al Malki said.
In race two, the three riders retained their positions to secure the top three spots on the points table.
Al Sulaiti has 40 points while Al Malki has 32 from the two races in round one.
A total of 12 riders hit the starting ramp in both the races. All riders featured on Kawasaki 600 bikes.
The trophies were presented by H E Minister of Culture and Sports Salah bin Ghanem Al Ali, Abdulrahman Al Mannai the QMMF President, and Khalid Al Remaihi, the LCSC Vice President and General Manager.