Even after months of inactivity, Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi demonstrated that his performance was not affected in any way during the downtime. The 2020 MSBK season finally kicked off last weekend and Zaqhwan wasted no time to get into action as he dominates the opening 2020 MSBK weekend.
The 21-year-old’s race weekend started off comfortably for him as he clocked the fastest time during practice. He then continued the momentum by clinching pole position during the Saturday morning qualifying, placing him in the front row with Farid Badrul and Ahmad Daniel to start Race 1 in.
As the lights turned green, the great start gave Zaqhwan the advantage to hold the top spot for the first lap. He then proceeded to distance himself from the pack in the coming laps which saw him taking the win by the end of Lap 10. Coming in second was MSBK1000 defending champion Farid Badrul, followed by Ahmad Daniel in third.
With the absence of Azlan Shah on the grid, Zaqhwan was virtually unchallenged through the weekend and continued to bag another two wins on Sunday. Although it seemed like he had it easy, the journey to the front has its own challenges.
“I wouldn’t call it an easy win. I was racing against myself, challenging myself to go at ARRC (FIM Asia Road Racing Championship) pace throughout the weekend. 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,” said Zaqhwan who now leads the 2020 MSBK1000 title hunt with the maximum 75 points.
Zaqhwan was not the only one that demonstrated a consistent weekend as Farid and Daniel also finished second and third respectively in the remaining two races.
Closed borders meant that many foreign riders could not fill in the MSBK600 grid, so the class shared the same grid as the MSBK1000 category. Running the race alongside larger CC bikes gave Mohd Ibrahim Mohd Norrodin that extra push in trying to keep up with the MSBK1000 bikes, in which had rewarded him handsomely with a triple win over the weekend.
While Race 1 and 3 were comfortable wins, the victory in Race 2 almost slipped through Ibrahim’s hands as Azroy Hakeem Anuar was only 0.083 seconds away from him when they crossed the chequered flag. Azroy’s great pace allowed him to take home second place for all three races.
HI-REV SCK Honda Racing’s Helmi Azman finished in third place in all three races as well.
The MSBK250 category gave out a great show as the top-3 riders were involved in a tough scrap and traded positions throughout the race weekend. Getting a good start from pole and leading the first half of Race 1, Daniel Syahmi was on his way to a great Saturday, that was until Idlan Hakimi overtook him on Lap 5. A close battle then ensued but Idlan managed to hold his position to win Race 1.
However in Race 2, it was Daniel’s turn to taste the victory as the SIC Racing Team rider took the win on Sunday morning with a gap of 3.8 seconds from Idlan. Finishing third in the first two races, Mohd Izan Ikmal still kept pushing for a better result and was rewarded handsomely with a win in Race 3.
It was a moment of celebration for the CARDINALS Racing Team as at least one of their riders were present on the podium of all three races. Race 1 saw the team grabbing a 1-3 finish where Ahmad Fazrul Sham took the win while Iqbal Amri finished third. Splitting the two teammates was Haziq Fairues of UMA Racing Yamaha Maju Motor Asia Team.
Finishing second in Race 2, Ahmad Fazrul bounced back to the top in Race 3 which puts him as the championship leader with 70 points in hand. Despite suffering a DNF in Race 2, Haziq Fairues’ two podium finishes awarded him enough points to stand second in the championship with 40 points. Iqbal Amri of CARDINALS Racing Team is placed third with 38 points.
1. Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi (Honda) (Boon Siew Honda Racing Team), 75 pts
2. Mohd Farid Badrul Hisam (BMW) (Horizon Racing Team), 60 pts
3. Ahmad Daniel Haiqal (BMW) (MME Racing Team Malaysia), 48 pts
1. Mohd Ibrahim Mohd Norrodin (Yamaha) (SIC Racing Team), 75 pts
2. Azroy Hakeem Anuar (Honda) (Boon Siew Honda Racing Team), 60 pts
3. Mohd Helmi Azman (Honda) (Hi-Rev SCK Honda Racing), 48 pts
1. Mohd Idlan Hakimi Raduan (Honda) (Boon Siew Honda Racing Team), 65 pts
2. Mohd Danial Syahmi A Shahril (Kawasaki) (SIC Racing Team), 61 pts
3. Mohd Izam Ikmal (Honda) (Hi-Rev SCK Honda Racing Team), 57 pts
1. Ahmad Fazrul Sham (Yamaha) (Cardinals Racing Team), 70 pts
2. Mohd Haziq Mohd Fairues (Yamaha) (UMA Racing Yamaha Maju Motor Asia Team), 40 pts
3. Mohd Iqbal Amri Abdul Malek (Yamaha) (Cardinals Racing Team), 38 pts
For more photos, head on to NETWO’s Facebook page