Dubai: Tannir Moto Racing – Race day 4 report
Tannir Moto Racing: Flags of Confusion
January 23rd & 24th saw the 7th & 8th rounds of the UAE Sportbike Championship at the Dubai Autodrome on the National Circuit that requires good handling as there is only one straight with the rest of the circuit made up of series of linked corners.
Although the team was happy with the overall performance of the bike, there is always room for improvement. So the test day on Thursday was used to try alternate gearing ratios to see if corner exit speeds could be improved. The team defined the test schedule and used each session to work through the planned testing list. The result of the testing confirmed the best gearing option which left the team in a confident mood for the race day.
Friday dawned bright but cold. The cold track conditions also led to concerns about cold tearing of the tyres and so tyre pressure adjustments would be needed. Warm-up was used to scrub in the tyres and check the track conditions. With only 10 minutes between the end of the warm-up and qualifying the team quickly checked the bike over and set the qualifying fuel level. As soon as the session went green only Mahmoud and Abdulaziz appeared to be ready and so they had a clear track ahead of them for a couple of laps, perfect. 1 warm-up lap, 2 quick laps and in. Job done, 2nd in class but on the front row, mission accomplished.
Race 1 was held 1 hour after qualifying so the team got straight down to business in giving the bike a full spanner check, set the fuel level and make sure Moody was fueled too (banana and water!). At the sound indicated the pit exit was open, Mahmoud headed out and the team to the grid.
A less than normal perfect start from Mahmoud saw him finish the 1st lap, 3rd in class, which became 2nd on lap 2 as he overtook Joe but wasted a little time battling with the 1000cc boys as Abdulaziz managed a disappearing act on his ZX6 with Alan (ZX10) in persuit. Behind Mahmoud Steve (ZX10) slowly closed the gap and with 2 laps to go overtook him, who was now suffering from tyre grip issues. Still at the flag it was a 2nd place finish in class but the rear tyre was not looking good. All the bikes were weighed with the rider on board (the regs state minimum weight of bike only!) and left in a “parc ferme”. With that it was off to the podium for the trophy and pictures.
For race 2 the team fitted the rear tyre used from the previous day as the D212 was only fit for the scrap heap (everybody who had used the D212 was in the same position so it wasn’t just the teams settings). Damien had trouble starting his bike on the green flag lap and pulled away in last place. He retook his grid position which wasn’t correct and so he was pushed to the back of the grid. This resulted in a number of bikes getting rather hot and when the start lights failed to go off, riders started to get agitated. Rather than aborting the start, several sets of yellow flags were waved but a green flag was shown on the start line!!!. That meant the race was a go doesn’t it? Well in this case no it didn’t as it meant another green flag lap. The various riders support crews and commentator were equally confused. After most of the riders had completed their 1st lap at race pace the red flags and lights were shown and thus the riders formed up again on the grid.
Of course neither the riders or the support teams were told what was going to happen next or how many laps the race was going to be held over. Again when the green flag was shown Mahmoud dropped the clutch and was off and away the only difference this being that the race was actually on. Due to his excellent start, Mahmoud had a lonely ride to 2nd place in class and 3rd overall.
Unsurprisingly most of the post race discussions were on the red light / yellow flag / green flag situation. Still, another 2nd place finish and with other riders not racing / finishing behind Mahmoud he was able to consolidate his 2nd place in the championship.
With both races finished, the team set about packing the pit gear away, but stay tuned as with the recent signing of Al Futtaim HONDA to support Mahmoud for the remainder of the season, the team will be very busy in preparing the new bike……Exciting times ahead!
Al-Futtaim Honda has stepped into the UAE motorsport circuit for the first time with the sponsorship of two-time and reigning UAE Superbike champion Mahmoud Tannir.
The sponsorship agreement will see Mahmoud, a 38-year-old Lebanese national, ride a Honda CBR 600.
Colin Cordery, regional managing director at Al-Futtaim Honda, said: “Honda’s history in the motorbike segment is long and successful, and our association with the UAE’s reigning Superbike champion aims to raise awareness of the brand’s legendary heritage and its best-in-class bikes.
“We look forward to a successful partnership.”
Tannir added: “Honda has a very rich history in racing and I’m extremely happy to be part of the Al-Futtaim Honda family. I am looking forward to my first race on the new bike.”
Al-Futtaim is exclusive distributor for Honda vehicles, motorcycles, marine engines, power products and parts in the UAE. It is one of the largest independent Honda distribution companies in the world.