Mishal Alneaimi scored an impressive double in the opening round of the 2016/2017 Bahrain Superbike Championship.
The meeting was held as part of National Racing Day in Sakhir.
Alneaimi headed into the season-opener looking to start from where he left off last season, when he was crowned the series’ first-ever title winner with an undefeated record in 12 races. But it was clear from the lights that the Qatari was not going to be cruising to any easy victories this year, as Aussie rival Aaron Moris and Briton Mike Edwards quickly showed that they are ones to look out for.
Despite winning pole position, Alneaimi opted to save his tyres an run behind Moris and Edwards for the first few laps. Midway through, he and then-leader Moris were only tenths-of-a-second apart until the defending champion overtook his rival with three laps to go.
Alneaimi eventually pulled away from the pack and claimed the chequered flag in a winning time of 12 minutes 41.223 seconds. He enjoyed a 6.058 second gap ahead of Moris, while Edwards was classified third 13.563s adrift.
From fourth through eighth place, respectively, were Fahad Alsuwaidi, Ali Al Shammari, Wesley Pearce, Ahmed Almuyin and Mohamoud Tannir.
An early mistake from Alneaimi saw him fall to the middle of the field but he did well to fight back and gain position lap after lap. He took over as leader on lap seven after also clocking his personal best lap time of 1:07.842.
Alneaimi staved of a hard challenge to the finish from Moris, who ended the race just 1.576s behind. Edwards was third 14.290s back, and the top three led the same eight riders in the same order from race one.
A word from the winner:
“I am very happy to start the new season with two wins. As we saw today, the races are not going to be as easy as last year. There are more experienced riders now and I have to be ready each round from free practice.
“These two wins are very important for me. I look forward to getting back on the track for the next round and get back to racing. I’d like to thank my sponsors Ooredoo and the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation, and I would also like to thank BSBK and BIC for organising such a wonderful Championship in Bahrain.”
To view Results & Standings click here.
The next round will take place on December, 2, 2016.