The new season of Qatar Superstock 600 kicked off on 8th December with an official practice during two days with a total of 22 riders taking part in the 5 rounds championship.
Most of the riders that participated in the previous season are also taking part but there are new riders from outside Qatar that will join the championship: Balint Kóvacs from Hungary, Michel Delarace from France, Saud Alwahaibi from Oman and the Kuwaiti riders Nawaf Alshuaibi, Mustafa Husain, Mohammad Alali, Mohammad Al Zaidan, Mujahed Alkhashram and Fahad Al Gharabally.
There is a new class in the championship, QSTK Trophy, open for those riders who achieved their best lap time 2.09 at the Losail International Circuit with a 600cc bike or 2.07 with a 1000cc bike.
During the 2 days test, the defendant QSTK600 champion, Saeed Al Sulaiti was the fastest rider with a lap time of 2:05.4580 on day 2. Mishal Al Naimi came in second place with a lap time of 2:06:021. Abdullah Al Qubaisi finished third and Nasser Al Malki fourth.
Al Sulaiti was happy with his results ‘Overall it was a good test and I am happy to lead the timings both days. It was difficult to make a good time and work on the set up because the wind was really strong but maybe next weekend we have also wind so we have to be ready anyway’.
‘I think we are ready to start the season in a good way. Yesterday I didn’t do a lot of laps as I had a crash but after the crash I managed to set the fastest lap. Today we started with the same used tires until the last 20 minutes when we put new tires and be able to do a good time. Thanks to QMMF, LCSC and Ooredoo for their support’ ended Al Sulaiti
Al Naimi also suffered the strong wind and couldn’t do a good time ‘For the two testing days we are very slow because of the wind. We didn’t change a lot of things on the bike. On the first day, we used only used tyre as with that weather it was very difficult to make good time. And the second day I used at the beginning a new tyre but still too much windy and cold for me. We’ll see next week how is the weekend. Thanks to Ooredoo for their support and QMMF and Losail ‘said Al Naimi
The 16 years old Hungarian rider, Balint Kóvacs finished in fifth position and made a good lap time being his first time that he rides at Losail International Circuit. ‘It was my first time in this track, I really like it but too much windy and difficult. I never rode before a Kawasaki so another new experience but I liked the bike too. I think my speed was good for the first time here and I really hope I can be faster in the race and maybe be on the podium. I am 2.7 behind Saeed, who is the QSTK champion and was a WorldSBK rider, so being my first time it is not so bad.’ Commented Kóvacs at the end of the practice.
In the QSTK Trophy, the fastest rider was Ali Al Shammari followed by Essa Al Mutawa, Soud Al Thani and the Kuwaiti rider Mohammad Al Zaidan.
Al Zaidan was very happy with his performance after long time not coming to Losail ‘Yesterday it was hard for me as it is almost 2 years that I don’t ride at Losail (I have been riding at Bahrain) . Yesterday it was a new bike for me, the set up was hard but we do good results. Today it was better and was able to fight in the Trophy class and finished 4th of my category. Good position today, good set up, good tires but too much windy but ready for the first round next weekend’ said Al Zaidan.
The Championship is organized by Losail Circuit Sports Club and Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation with Pirelli Qatar and Inside as sponsors of the championship.
QMMF President, Mr. Abdulrahman al Mannai, is looking forward the start of the new season ‘Last season we saw an exciting battle between Saeed and Mishal and a great performance of all the riders. For this season, we expect another rush of adrenaline in each round and stronger competition between all the participants’
‘We are very proud of what we achieved last season and we are very happy with the increase of the participants that for sure, all of them will deliver a great performance in every race’ said Abdulrahman Al Mannai
Mr. Khalid Al Remaihi, LCSC Vice President and General Manager is very happy with the large number of participants ‘This year we want to continue with the success of last season and we can see with the increase of the entries that we are on the right way. For sure all of the riders will deliver a great performance in every race. Also, with the new category, QSTK Trophy we want to make this championship also challenging for the riders that are not in the top group and for sure everybody will have more fun.
For all the spectators, the Grandstand will be free and also the Paddock will be open.