Release and photos: Sepang Circuit.
Forty nine-year-old Ismael Smajli of Germany successfully defended his 600cc Supersport Malaysia Superbike Championship (MSBK) crown with a round to spare with two podium finishes in Round 4 at Sepang International Circuit (SIC) today.
Finishing third in both races on his Kawasaki ZX6R machine and adding another 32 points, the BikeART rider took his season total haul to 154.5 points, to open an unassailable lead over Khurana Diraj, who has collected 104 points after four rounds.
“It is fantastic to become champion again. Naturally, I am happy. But, I am happy just to be racing again and having the opportunity to compete with these young riders. They are very fast today,” said Smajli in reference to the performances of Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman and Fakhrusy Syakirin Rostam, who took first and second respectively for both races today.
Azlan – the former Moto2 rider and former Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) champion was undoubtedly the star of the round as he swept aside his rivals, winning both races in dominant style and lapping a number of them around the 2,705-meter North Sepang Track.
Malaysia’s former Moto3 wild card rider Muhammad Farid Badrul Hisam was also spectacular in Round 4 as the Kajang-born rider won his first Superbike Championship crown to the two Supersport overall titles that he won in 2014 and 2015.
Finishing second in Race 1 to Malaysia’s former Moto 2 rider, Mohd Ramdan Mohd Rosli, the HKM Times Bike Racing Team rider bettered his performance in Race 2, winning the 24-lap battle around the 2,705-meter Sepang North Track in 29 minutes 21.892 seconds, edging out 2016 champion, Rajini Krishnan of India.
With 45 points collected today, Muhammad Farid took his total haul for the 2017 season to 170 points to open an unassailable lead over Krishnan, who collected 117 points after four rounds.
“I am happy to win this Superbike Championship especially after not being able to compete last season. It was a pity that Ramdan could not finish Race 2 because he had tyre problems. I was looking forward to competing with him as winning Race 2 was my ultimate target to seal the championship. Despite already winning the title, I am still looking forward to the final round and will push for the best possible results,” Farid said.
In the Superstock Championship, Malaysian Mohd Hafiz Nor Azman scored a double victory in Round 4 to close the gap on championship leader, Jonathan Serrapica, who was equally sensational to finish third and second in Race 1 and Race 2 respectively.
With 50 championship points, the Fast throttle Motorsports rider would take his 135 points for the final showdown with the Swiss rider, who has a total haul of 158 points — a 23-point advantage over Hafiz, who did not compete in Round 1.
The Open 250 Cup saw championship leader Muhammad Aiman Tahiruddin of Malaysia extending his lead at the top with two third-place finishes, giving him an additional 32 points for the round and bringing his total haul to 135 points.
His Singaporean rival, Muhammad Jazil Juraimi had a frustrating round after failing to finish Race 1 and only finishing seventh in Race 2 to collect nine championship points. With a round to go, he lost further ground and trails Aiman by 30 points.
The KTM RC Cup was topped by its three top riders Australian Billy van Earde and Malaysians Muhammad Ibrahim Norrodin and Mohd Izam Ikmal Izamli (KTM RC) dominating the podium. Van Earde won the opening race but was stunned by Mohd Izam, who took top honors in Race 2. Ibrahim – the younger brother of Malaysia’s Moto 3 rider Adam Norrodin – took second place in both races.
All the race actions were televised live in social media via live-streaming at SIC official Facebook page; reaching a total of 423,315 fans for today’s races.
Round 5 will be held from 24 to 26 November. It will be raced on the full length of the circuit.