Teen riders Danial and Hakim finish on a high in Losail

Podium finish: Danial Syahmi Ahmad Shahril chasing Japan’s Taiyo Furusato until the finish line in Race 2 of the second round of Asia Talent Cup (ATC) in Doha. Inset: (from left) Danial, Furusato and Hakim.

PETALING JAYA: Losail International Circuit proved to be a happy hunting ground for Malaysian riders Danial Syahmi Ahmad Shahril and Hakim Danish Ramli.

The pair made heads turn when they stepped on the podium in Race 2 in the second round of the Asia Talent Cup (ATC), which ended in Doha on Monday.

Danial grabbed his second podium in Doha in as many days after finishing second ahead of teammate Hakim.

Danial fought gallantly at the front in the 14-lap race with Taiyo Furusato and narrowed the gap to just 0.041 but the Japanese rider managed to stay ahead until the chequered flag.

Danial was also second in Race 1 behind Furusato, who had won the first two races in the season-opening round held during the Qatar Grand Prix last month.

The 18-year-old Danial was elated to make the podium for the first time in three years.

His last was at the Sepang International Circuit in 2018 when he finished Race 1 of the sixth round in second place before a horrific crash in the next race ended his season.

The incident shattered his right shin bone and he was hospitalised for more than a year.

“It feels good to know that I can still contribute after more than two years away from the track.

“I tried to fight for the lead but I made a small mistake on the last lap. There was a long straight in Losail and it was hard to catch up, ” said the 19-year-old, who rides for ZK Racing Team.

Danial is now second in the standings with 59 points while the 16-year-old Japanese is on top with 100 points.

Hakim, meanwhile, continued his stunning campaign by making it three podiums from four races at Losail.

He showed his pedigree by moving up from 11th on the grid to clinch third place in Race 2.

Hakim, only 13, is in his rookie season and earned a spot in the ATC after winning the 160cc category in the inaugural SIC MiniGP Championship last year.

The riders will take a break and return later this year during MotoGP’s Japan Grand Prix in Motegi in October.

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