AHMAD Afif Amran fired the first salvo by topping the CP130 opening practice for Round 3 of the PETRONAS AAM Malaysian Cub Prix Championship at Dataran Tanjung Emas, Muar in Johor on Friday.
Afif, currently placed at the bottom of the standings with just four points regained his missing form to set the pace in his fourth lap with 53.917s and remained unbeatable throughout the session.
The Terengganu rider edged out seasoned contender, Norizman Ismail (Harian Metro Y-TEQ SCK Honda Racing) by 0.588 seconds with Mohd Fitri Ashraf Razali in tow, 54.506s.
Norizmanâ€™s teammate, Zamri Baba crashed while attempting to close the gap on Afif ended the day fourth with 54.539s while Azhar Abdul Jalil (Motul Yamaha YY Pang) rounded up the top five in 54.774s.
Pleased to have finally found his pace, Afif said, â€œIâ€™m relieved now we are competitive again after struggling with setup issues in the past two rounds. It was a disaster, especially in Batu Kawan (Round 2) where I failed to finish the race. But here in Muar, things are finally looking up.â€
He went on to talk about his strategies for the SuperPole and 18-lap race tomorrow, â€œItâ€™s crucial to secure front row start because this track has limited room for overtaking and the corners are narrow. Adding on to that, some of it are blind corners meaning there is a lot of risk.
â€œNevertheless, I will give my very best. My mission is to collect maximum points and bridge the point gap with the leaders. We cannot afford anymore slip-up if we intend to fight for the championship.â€
Besides the top five, others who qualified for SuperPole that will determine the top-10 starting position includes Mohd Taufiq Roslan and Abdul Muhaimin Roslan, Mohd Hafiz Nor Azman, Elly Idzlianizar Ilias and Mohd Affendi Rosli.
Meanwhile PETRONAS Yamaha Maju Motorâ€™s Kasma Daniel Kasmayudin set a blazing pace in the CP115 class to become the only rider to log his laptime under 54 seconds.
The youngster who stepped on the podium in Temerloh (Round 1) posted the best lap out of 28 riders in 54.551s.
Tengku Amirul Haffiruddin (Motul Yamaha YY Pang) who is on the hunt for a hat-trick this weekend was 0.601 seconds adrift while Ahmad Syukran Aizat (PETRONAS Yamaha CKJ) was third fastest with 55.491s despite sustaining an injury from crashing twice today.
Reigning CP115 Champion, Izzat Zaidi Salehan registered fourth ahead of Afiki Supaatâ€™s stand-in, Azroy Hakeem Anuar (Givi Honda Yuzy Racing), recording their best laps in 55.620s and 55.762s respectively.
Others that made the cut for Saturdayâ€™s Shoot-Out – Khairul idham Pawi who just returned from the opening leg of the CEV Repsol in Portugal, Mohd Fhahmin Abdul Mutalib, Mohd Fareez Afeez, Mohd Syafiq Rosli and Emir Firdaus Hasan.
In the age-capped WIRA category, Qhuwarismi Mohd Nasir of Weststar Motorsport appeared quickest with 56.331s, a slim 0.331 seconds ahead of Amirul Hakim Mohd Rizal (Espada William Racing) with Shafiq Ezzariq (Kozi Yam Honda Racing) logging in third in 56.881s
1.Ahmad Afif Amran (Yamaha) 53.917s 2.Norizman Ismail (Honda) 54.505s 3.Mohd Fitri Ashraf Razali (Yamaha) 54.506s 4.Zamri Baba (Honda) 54.539s 5.Azhar Abdul Jalil (Yamaha) 54.774s
1.Kasma Daniel Kasmayudin (Yamaha) 54.551s 2.Tengku Amirul Haffiruddin (Yamaha) 55.152s 3.Ahmad Syukran Aizat (Yamaha) 55.491s 4.Izzat Zaidi Salehan (Yamaha) 55.620s 5.Azroy Hakeem Anuar (Honda) 55.762s
1.Qhuwarismi Mohd Nasir (Yamaha) 56.331s 2.Amirul Hakim Mohd Rizal (Yamaha) 56.667s 3.Shafiq Ezzariq (Honda) 56.881s 4.Akid Aziz (Yamaha) 56.883s 5.Isa Josri (Yamaha) 56.985s. – MYNEWSHUB.cc