Difficulties In The Desert For MPM Racedays As 2019 Season Ends
Soaring temperatures and intense humidity added to the challenges that the MPM WILSport Racedays team faced in the final round of the FIM Supersport World Championship last Saturday, at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
The 5.3km circuit is a favourite amongst riders, teams and fans alike, providing a unique arena for the WorldSSP protagonists to race under floodlights in the middle of the Qatar desert.
From the opening Free Practice sessions both riders, Hannes Soomer and Jaimie van Sikkelerus gave their all, eventually qualifying in nineteenth and twenty first respectively.
The threat of inclement weather meant the organisers brought the race start time forward and when the lights went out at the start of the fifteen-lap encounter both the #38 and #74 were in the mix. Whilst Soomer crossed the line fourteenth after a race long fight for twelfth, van Sikkelerus failed to finish, crashing with six laps to go before re-joining. Unable to complete the race he retired.
As the curtain fell on the 2019 season Hannes was classified fourteenth overall with Jaimie ending the year twenty-second overall, with the accolade of having led a lap in Australia.
“It was another though weekend. We struggled a lot in the first two days trying to find a setup for the bike that allowed me to push. In the Superpole we were completely lost but the team did a mega job on Friday night to come up with a plan for the warm-up session that was finally in the right direction. We were still making changes for the race and considering this I am happy, especially with the first ten laps of the race. In the last portion it became more and more difficult to keep the pace as the front grip started dropping. I want to say a huge thanks to the whole team and everybody involved for this season. For sure I hoped for a better second half of the championship, but the unfortunate injury in the official tests and some bad luck spoiled that. We had some great moments together that are worth remembering though, and we should not forget that.”
Jaimie Van Sikkelerus:
“This last round was mentally stressful for me. Usually my starts are good, but here in Qatar I didn’t gain any position from the grid and I had to catch up with the group in front of me. I was recording consistent lap-times, but while I was pushing to close the 3-second gap I had to the point zone, the downshifting on entry to turn 6 was not successful and the excessive entry speed and lean angle closed the front-end of my bike causing a crash. I re-joined for one lap, but it was not possible to ride efficiently anymore, and I retired from the race ending the season with disappointment.”
Emanuele D’Artibale – Team Manager:
“We wrapped up our 2019 season with round-results inspired from the rough and dry landscapes of the desert area surrounding the sensational Losail circuit in Qatar. After a promising first part of the race, Hannes finished collecting another two points at the chequered flag, and Jaimie unfortunately retired after a crash at the end of the second third of the race. The level of competitiveness of this championship has been demonstrated by the intensity of the battle for the title and the fast laps recorded during the races, therefore we are aware that hard work and professional dedication are required to climb the latter. Compared to last year, both Jaimie and Hannes advanced their position in the final world championship standings; as well, the Racedays team moved up three positions in the team standings, finishing 8th. During the season however, some crashes and physiological issues related to the newly introduced features for the electronics of our Honda CBR600RR have prevented us from collecting the points we truly have deserved. We went through the difficulties learning the strategies to optimize our resources, and both the riders and the team have been appreciated in regard to their improvements. We want to warmly thank our title sponsors MPM oil and WILsport, along with our seasonal supporters and technical partners. We will keep working and progressing to satisfy our ambitions.”