Zaqhwan Zaidi said that managing tyre wear plays an important aspect for this weekend’s FIM Asia Road Racing Championship as he attempts to claw his way onto the podium at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
The reigning SuperSports 600cc champion hinted that the 5.380 kilometre circuit tends to be more abrasive on the Dunlop tyres and he expects the high track temperatures will further aggravate the problem.
Zaqhwan however remains confident he can make something happen under Losail’s floodlights following a fruitful outing in Thailand last month that saw him finish Race 1 and Race 2 seventh upon his return from the Moto2 World Championship.
“Qatar has always been known to be tricky especially where tyre wear is concern. Degradation happens a lot faster here compared to other tracks because there are a lot of high-speed corners. Adding on to the challenge, this year we will race under warm conditions unlike the past four seasons where the race took place during winter,” said Zaqhwan.
The Musashi Boon Siew Honda Racing rider added, “But racing in the heat does have it’s upside. Lap times are surely to be much faster because with more heat, the tyres can generate better grip. So to get on the podium this weekend, tyre management is crucial and we need to find the right balance between knowing when to attack and hold back.”
Speaking about his targets for this weekend, Zaqhwan said, “I’m looking forward to the night race. This place holds sweet memories because this is where I won the Asian SuperSports 600cc title last year.”
“Furthermore, I feel like I am gaining more confidence after the race in Thailand. We had a strong pace but unfortunately I made some mistakes in the race. I was disappointed but I knew getting back into the groove won’t be easy because competition is very stiff. The goal for this weekend is to make a further step forward and try to finish on the podium.”