May 13, 2013
© 2016, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
by John Ulrich
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Alex Cudlin (1) celebrates victory at Losail. Cudlin now leads the Qatar Superbike Championship over German Nina Prinz, in a part of the world where allowing women to drive cars on the street--let alone race Superbikes--can be controversial.
Australian Alex Cudlin has a commanding points lead after five rounds in the six-round Qatar Championship.
Cudlin stretched his advantage to a massive 92 points in this weekend's three-race event at Losail Circuit when his main title rival struck mechanical problems, and needs to earn less than 10 points to clinch at the final round next month.
But it's notable that German Nina Prinz, age 30, is second in points behind Cudlin, both racing GSX-R1000 Suzuki Superbikes.
Prinz leads several riders from Saudi Arabia, where an unresolved debate currently rages over whether or not women should be allowed to drive cars on public roads. It's currently illegal but activists have recently videotaped themselves driving cars in protest.
A total of 28 riders have scored points in the Qatar Championship, and 35 have participated according to the series website. Of those riders, three are from Saudi Arabia, including sixth-in-point Ahmed Almuyini.
Qatar Championship Point Standings after round 5 of 6
1. Alex Cudlin, Australia (Suz GSX-R1000), 224
2. Nina Prinz, Germany (Suz GSX-R1000), 132
3. Speed Alsulaiti, Qatar (BMW S1000RR), 127
4. Mashel Al Naimi, Qatar (Hon CBR1000RR), 116
5. Nasser Al Malki, Qatar (BMW S1000RR), 105
6. Ahmed Almuyini, Saudi Arabia (Hon CBR1000RR), 84
7. Fahia Al Sowaidi, Qatar (Hon CBR1000RR), 78
8. Abdulrahman Almannai, Qatar (BMW S1000RR), 47
9. Ian Maund, Great Britain (Suz GSX-R1000), 45
10. Christopher Bell, Great Britain (Kaw ZX-10R), 39
More, from a press release issued by Alex Cudlin Racing:
ALEX CUDLIN MARCHING TOWARDS THIRD TITLE
QMMF Suzuki GSX-R1000 rider Alex Cudlin has increased his championship lead in the Qatar International Road Race Championship (QIRRC) to a massive 92 points after claiming a triple victory in round five of the series at the Losail Circuit in Qatar over 10-11 May.
The Australian went into the round with a 33 point buffer and thanks to some brilliant riding and bad luck for his main title rival Mashel Al Naimi (Honda), needs just eight points from the final two rounds to walk away with his third straight QIRRC title when the series reconvenes for the penultimate round at the Losail circuit on 7-8 June.
Cudlin started the weekend by scorching to pole position on the QMMF Suzuki GSX-R1000 by clocking a 2m02.712s lap – the fastest ever lap in the QIRRC around Losail – to sit nearly a full second in front of fellow Suzuki rider Prinz (2m03.544s). Rounding out the front row was BMW rider Nasser Al Malki with a 2m04.359s lap.
It would be Al Malki who would prove to be Cudlin’s main protagonist throughout the first 15 lap encounter, the Qatari local using the extra straight line speed of the BMW to stay with Cudlin down the kilometer long front straight, before Cudlin would edge away in the corners. Cudlin eventually slithered away from Al Malki, taking the win by 1.010 sec with Prinz in third. Cudlin’s championship rival Mashel Al Niami (Honda) retired after five laps, leaving the Aussie to open up a 58 point lead in the championship.
Race two again saw Al Malki give Cudlin grief for the majority of the race. He managed to past the Aussie on the front straight on lap three, however on lap seven Cudlin hit straight back and held on to claim the race victory, again by 3.8sec.
Horrible luck again struck Al Naimi, his CBR1000RR engine expiring and leaving the former Moto2 rider needing a miracle if he is to become the 2013 Qatari champion.
Race three and Cudlin stamped his authority on the Qatari field, winning by a whopping 6 sec over Prinz to open up his championship to a massive 92 points over Prinz with two rounds to go.
Alex Cudlin: “What can I say? It was a perfect day’s racing and all the cards happen to fall my way this time. I felt like I was riding well – it was good to have a battle with Al Malki – so it’s great to be able to reward the team with the triple victory tonight.
“It’s a shame for Al Naimi, you couldn’t get much more rotten luck if you went looking for it, but this is racing and you have to take the good with the bad. Today, I’m taking the good!
“It’s nice to have only eight points left to claim the championship. I’d like to get it sown up as early as possible but I know the field won’t make it easy for me. I feel my fitness level is the best it has ever been and my strength during the races is certainly showing, so even though I only need eight points to win the title, I still want to win the remaining races and end the Qatari season on an even bigger high.”