Australian Alex Cudlin has won Qatar Superbike championship (QSBK) for his fourth time in a row at the Losail International Circuit this weekend.
The QMMF Team rider didn’t had any pressure to win both races as he knew before the start of the race that Nasser Al Malki couldn’t take part in the last round as he didn’t had time to fix the engine problem he had in the free practice.
In the first race, Cudlin, who started on pole, lead the whole race from the start until the end, crossing the flag with a gap of 3.913 ahead of Mishal Al Naimi who finished in second place. After the first race, he said:
The race was perfect, I lead from the first corner all the way to the end and no problems. I am really happy to win the championship for fourth time, when I joined the QSBK four years ago I didn’t expect to win four times in a row and it was a perfect season with QMMF and a perfect and great team, so thanks to QMMF for the season. In the second race I can relax, no pressure. After this, I go to Australia to relax and prepare for the Endurance World Championship in Germany in August and then in Le Mans.
Mishal Al Naimi, who finished second had a problem with the brake of his Honda bike. After the podium of race one, Al Naimi explained:
I am happy with the result but I had a problem with the brake, after five laps when I tried to overtake Alex, I had to slow to adjust the brake so I went down to the fourth place but in the five last laps, I overtook Nina and Saeed and finished second.’
The third place was for Saeed Al Sulaiti who had a tough battle with Nina Prinz who had a problem with the clutch of his Suzuki bike just in the last two laps and finished in fourth position. Saeed stated:
This race was one of my best races in lap time and performance, I was able to be second most of the race, but unforutanalty in the last 6 laps, I made a mistake in corner one and I went out of the track and back to fifth, so in the last laps I really pushed to the limit as my team deserves a podium, so we make it and I could catch Nina in the last two laps so it was good to be in the podium after my mistake. I want to thanks QMMF for supporting me since the beginning of my career and my sponsor Nasser Bin Khaled Kawasaki (NBK) for sponsoring me this season.’
In the second race of the day, Mishal Al Naimi took the lead during the first three laps but Alex managed to overtake him and get the first position until he had a problem in the chain of his Kawasaki bike and had to abandon the race. Cudlin said:
The race was ok at the beginning, I had a big fight with Mishal but in the corner seven of the seventh lap, the chain snapped so obviously I couldn’t continue because I had no drive in the rear wheel, but I was lucky not to crash. I am happy with the season and really forward to come back again in the next season and win again.’
Al Naimi pushed until the end of the race to get his first victory of the season. After the race, Al Naimi said:
I am very happy with this win an dI want to give this win to Ooredoo. I fell very good in the race, I stayed with Alex fighting during some laps until he had the problem with his bike. I am very happy with the championship as I finished in third place overall and thanks to my sponsor, team and QMMF for organising this championship stronger every season and looking forward next season.’
The second place was for Nina Prinz and third for Saeed Al Sulaiti. The German rider commented in the parc fermé:
‘I had a good feeling with the bike from the beginning, my mechanics changed the clutch, my lap times was very good and I finished in the second position. I am really happy and is a good finish for this season and maybe we can make a good start in the next season. Thanks to QMMF for this championship.’
In the championship standings, Cudlin won the title with 280 points and Nasser Al Malki finished second with 229. The third place was for Mishal Al Naimi who got 224 points and Nina Prinz with 188 points ended in fourth place.
In the podium ceremonies, trophies were presented by Mohd Saad Al Morraikhi (QMMF General Secretary), Sultan Zaher Al Morraikhi (QMMF Board Member) and Rashid Al Sulaiti (QMMF Public Relations Manager). Nasser Khalifa Al Attiya, QMMF President and LIC General Manager was very happy after the end of the season with the high quality of challenge between the teams and the riders and drivers, showing a good performance and commitment during the whole championship. He said:
We are thinking to bring more riders from Europe for the next season to have strong quality of riders that can give bigger challenge to the races and hope to have more female and male riders in the next season…with our team with Alex, Nina, Mishal and Saeed we are planning outdoor Qatar with the Endurance team and we are checking how we can accommodate them in some wild card in Moto2 races in the World Championship to get them ready for the future.’
Nasser Khalifa Al Attiya talked about the plans for the second half of the year. He said:
This year we are going to host the FIA General Assembly and Award Gala in December, and it will be the first time that it takes place in the MENA region. We are doing the preparation for that, with more than 150 counties attending between sport and mobility and the top drivers for F1, WRC, etc and this will be a massive challenge for Qatar and he the FIA believed in us and give all their support as we win the bid among five other countries, announcing it in Marrakech in the World Sport Council. This is a big success for QMMF and as FIA Vice President I have been in challenge against many countries to get this bidding.
‘Also we are in the process to built a new project for Karting, a part form the Motocross track that we have here in Losail and for sure we are also thinking on the F1 for the future, we have many potential in different areas to make the heart of motorsport in the Middle East in Qatar here.’
‘At the end of the year there will be election in the FIM, so I will finish my turn as FIM vice president after four years so maybe I decide again to run as Vice President for this coming election. Also, I am taking part in the FIA commission for support for the countries and the task force, and it is important to lead this area and give better directions for the future. We will have a calendar in the MERC with the candidates countries of Iran and Oman, both of them will be in October running their candidates for 2015 and Abu Dhabi is also thinking on that, so increasing the calendar from six to nine rounds that will be a big achievement in my position in the FIA.’
The American driver, Eric Febbo, has won the Qatar Challenge Championship after finishing in third position in the seventh round of the Qatar Challenged at Losail International Circuit this weekend. Febbo, who drives under QMMF driving license, scored 120 points in the final standings. After the race, Febbo said:
Today it was awesome, third place in the race and winner of the championship. It was a tough battle all the race, the track was great, Toyo tyres were also great and big thanks to Al Muftah and to QMMF. Today It was a real battle with Peter and I had a great season this year, definitely exceeding my expectations this season over last season. I think it was been great for all the participants and thanks for everybody involved in the championship for the great job.’
David Walker, who has been leading all the championship, finally ended in second position with 117 points. Walker couldn’t hide his disappointment after the race for not winning the championship after leading it since round one all way through today, but a mechanical failure in his car made him end the race in eight position.
The third classified in the championship was Tim Stevens, also from Great Britain with 99 points. He said:
I am very surprised to come third in the championship, the last couple of races have been amazing, the track conditions today were great and thanks to QMMF for organising this great event.’
In the race of the day, the winner of the seventh round was Mark Holroyd, who got the pole position and lead the race from the start until the checkered flag and won with a gap of 22.819 ahead of Peter DeVido. Holroyd, who also won the trophy of Rookie of the year, said after the race:
I was looking to get a good start and I managed to get first into the first corner ahead of Eric Feboo and after that I just tried to keep my pace and pretend the other drivers to chase me. I had some reliability issues this season so is great to finish on a high and I looking forward so much for next season and I would like to thank my sponsors for their help this year, 49th Street customs, Toyo and of course QMMF for this great championship.’
Peter DeVido, who was second in the race, was very happy with this result taking into account the bad result in the last round. He said:
It was a fantastic race, I am very pleased with the result, after some issues I had in the last round, very happy with the car and my performance today and big thanks to Quanto Bello Qatar Racing for their amazing support. I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed with everyone here and thanks to everybody’ DeVido said after the race.
Trophies were given by Rashid Al Sulaiti (QMMF Public Relations Manager) and Omar Zaroud, General Manager of Royal Automobile Club of Jordan.