Qatar Superstock 600 starts a new season with a large number of entries and a new class, QSTK Trophy. The new season 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 with new riders from outside Qatar joining the championship including 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 also 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, defending 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."
Al Naimi also suffered in the strong wind: "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 tyres as with that weather it was very difficult to make good time. And the second day I used a new tyre but still too much wind 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 riding at Losail: "It was my first time in this track, I really like it but too much wind and difficult. I never rode 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 a long time away from 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. For all the spectators, the Grandstand is free and the Paddock will also be open.
Round 1 15th & 16th December 2017
Round 2 2nd & 3rd February 2018
Round 3 16th & 17th February 2018
Round 4 15h, 16th & 17th March 2018
Round 5 6th & 7th April 2018
More info at www.qatarsuperstock600.com