Alneaimi makes clean sweep of Superbike races

    Alneaimi makes clean sweep of Superbike races to maintain unbeaten early season run. Shaikh Salman and Karimi claim a victory apiece in 2,000cc Challenge

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    BMishal Alneaimi
    Bahrain Superbike Championship
    Alneaimi asserted his early season dominance in the 2016 Bahrain Superbike Championship (BSBK) following a clean sweep of the series’ second round held last Friday at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir.
    Alneaimi shone brightest under floodlights to come away with a fine double and make it four wins in a row to start the BSBK season.
    The meeting was held as part of National Race Day at BIC, “The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East”. The event also featured round five of the 2015/2016 BIC 2,000cc Challenge, where championship leader Shaikh Salman bin Isa bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa shared the honours with perennial podium contender Hussain Karimi.
    Shaikh Salman won race one to claim his fifth triumph of the season and keep a healthy lead in the title hunt, while Karimi took race two to claim his second victory this campaign.
    “I am very happy for this round,” Alneaimi said. “I felt that I improved a lot from the first time we raced here and I am pleased to win now four times in a row.”
    Shaikh Salman commented: “It’s been a great weekend. I managed to get a win and have a good take in the points, so I still lead the championship by a good amount and will continue working towards claiming the title this season.”
    Karimi added: “It feels good to finally get another win; it’s an addictive feeling and I would like to have that the next round as well.”
    National Race Day was organised by BIC in cooperation with the Bahrain Motor Federation and Circuit Racing Club.
    In the BSBK, all riders were competing on identical Ducati 899 Panigale sport bikes, but it was Alneaimi who was in a class of his own from start to finish.
    The Qatari ace supported by Ooredoo Racing had topped the practice timesheet and then followed it up by claiming pole position for race one. Alneaimi went on to win with a massive gap of 30.311 seconds ahead of his closest rival Fahad Alsuwaidi, while Ali Alshammari finished third 32.184s back to form an all-Qatari podium.
    Wesley Pearce (+38.122s) was classified fourth and Ibrahim Al Sharidah (+40.066s) fifth. Rayad Alemadi (+59.361s), Ian Charles (+1:04.701) and Mohamad Al Obaidly (1:05.692) rounded out the top eight of the 15 riders who started the race.
    Alnaeimi maintained his high level or race two, winning despite starting from the middle of the grid. He completed the 11-lap sprint 12.405s ahead of Alsuwaidi. Pearce claimed the final podium spot 17.852s from first place. Ali Adiby (+18.017s) was fourth, Suriya Raja (+23.166s) finished fifth, and Ai Al Shammari (+23.304s) came in sixth. Al Sharidah (+30.071s) and Rayad Alemadi (+40.267s) completed the top eight.
    Alneaimi registered the fastest lap in both of Friday’s Superbike races. In race one, he had a blistering pace and set a quickest time of 1:08.576 around BIC’s 2.55-kilometre Inner Track, which is also the best mark of the year to date. His best of race two was 1:09.153.
    “It was a good two races tonight,” said Alneaimi. “I broke my lap record and each time we go out there I feel I can keep getting faster and faster.
    “I’m also very happy to see the competition getting tighter. All the riders are coming close and fighting to be on the podium, which is very good for this championship.”
    In the BIC 2,000cc Challenge, Shaikh Salman took race one in his Honda CIVIC 2.428 seconds in front of Alex Longden in a BMW 3 Series/F20C. The pair were well ahead of the rest of the field, with Raed Himmo also in a CIVIC finishing third 22.601s back. Pole-sitter Karimi (Honda CRX, +35.714s) finished fourth, Lee Stones (Renault Clio, +1:08.795) fifth, Tareq Al Tajer (Ford Focus, +1:16.238) sixth, Michael Priester (CRX, 11 laps) seventh. Abdulla Al Kharaan in a Honda Integra was not classified.
    In race two, Karimi enjoyed the victory after a good start and had a somewhat comfortable lead of 7.587s ahead of Himmo and 23.191s in front of Longden. Both were claiming their second podiums of the night. Shaikh Salman finished in fourth place 33.999s behind, while Stones (+58.357s), Priester (+1:06.549) and Al Tajer (+1:08.008) completed the final classification.
    Shaikh Salman said: “I started off today with a little bit of brake problems in practice and qualifying but managed to qualify third and then went on to win race one. Unfortunately halfway through race two, I lost all gears and remained in fourth all through the race and had to settle for fourth place.”
    Karimi commented: “I managed to get the car where I want it to be this round. It was a good win in race two; I was lucky at the start to get a good lead. I managed not to make too many mistakes and was able to maintain that lead through the race duration.”
    Shaikh Salman had the best lap time for both races, setting a 1:18.212 for race one and then a 1:18.358 lap for race two.
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