CP130 rider Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi does a wheelie after winning the first leg of the Malaysian Cub Prix Championship in Penang on Sunday. - MUSTAFA AHMAD/ The Star
GEORGE TOWN: Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi of Givi Honda Yuzy Racing capped a perfect weekend in the opening round of the Petronas AAM Malaysian Cub Prix Championship by blazing to victory in the CP130 class race in Batu Kawan, Penang.
Zaqhwan, who had posted the fastest time during Friday’s free testing and Saturday’s qualifying, clocked 16:15.133 over 18 laps in the 22.572km race on Sunday.
The 19-year-old finished ahead of Norizman Ismail of Harian Metro YTEQ SCK Honda (16:18.735) and Mohd Azhar Jalil of Motul Yamaha YY Pang (16:21.269).
Zaqhwan dedicated his win to his mentor and team principal Shahrol Yuzy.
“I could not have won without the support of my team, especially Shahrol. My bike set-up was fantastic throughout the weekend and I am happy to begin the season with a victory.
“After finishing fifth (2012) and third (2013) in the overall standings, it is no secret that I am eyeing my first overall title this year. I hope the opening race win will provide me with the momentum needed for the remaining nine rounds,” said Zaqhwan.
In the CP115 race, Mohd Izzat Zaidi and Tengku Amirul Haffirudin delivered a 1-2 finish for Team Motul Yamaha YY Pang.
Both riders managed to overtake pre-race favourite and pole sitter Elly Idzlianizar Ilias of M-Seki Liberty Honda during the 15-lap race.
Izzat posted 13:53.995 to win the 18.96km race, with Tengku Amirul and Elly crossing the finish line in 13:56.108 and 13:56.685 respectively.
Elly, who is returning to the CP115 category after five seasons in the premier CP130 class, admitted that his mishandling of the bike cost him victory.
“I learnt a harsh lesson regarding racing in the CP115 category today. In the CP130 class, it is basically raw power and pushing the bike to the limits. The CP115 is more about getting the best within the machine’s capabilities. I pushed my bike too hard today and it got overheated. In the end, I am happy to secure a podium finish as I just wanted to get the bike across the finish line,” said Elly.
Race winner Izzat, who started from second on the grid, had a slow start which almost cost him dearly.
He warned of the threat posed by Elly.
“It was a tiring race as I had to recover from my poor start to catch up with the leaders. I took advantage of Elly’s misfortune to overtake him on the ninth lap, and I am happy to have started with a victory.
“The 1-2 finish for Team Motul is a bonus. There is still a long way to go and I see Elly as the biggest threat for my overall title aspirations.”
The second round of the 10-leg season will be held in Muar from April 25-26.