The first round of the 2017-18 UAE Sportbike Championship got underway at the weekend and an epic battle is already taking shape between defending 600cc champ Mahmoud Tannir and long-standing rival Ahmed Almuyini.
Almuyini struck first, grabbing pole position on his Kawasaki ZX6R with a best qualifying lap time of 1:33.023 on the National Circuit, a mere 0.274 seconds ahead of Tannir, riding a Honda CBR600RR.
In Race One, the margin of victory would be even closer, with the Saudi and Lebanese riders side by side for the lead. On the last lap Almuyini snuck past Tannir to take the chequered flag by a miniscule 0.015 seconds gap.
However, Almuyini’s good fortune didn’t carry over into the second race and he dropped his bike in the opening lap leaving Tannir in control for the comfortable class win, crossing the finish line 33.508 seconds clear of Fahad Al Gharbally.
In the 600cc Rookie Class, Federico Fratelli on his Yamaha R6 went two-for-two, taking close victories both times over Angelo Villone, riding a Kawasaki ZX6R.
In the non-championship 1000cc class, Yamaha R1 rider Nasser Al Shaiba scored two category wins, with Vafi Khan on his BMW S1000RR claiming second.
Photos: Khaled Hibri