Suzuki’s Nina Prinz celebrated a podium position at the opening round of the QMMF 2013-2014 Qatar Superbike Championship at the Losail circuit at the weekend – despite having to use her old 2012 GSX-R1000.
The German Suzuki International Europe-backed rider raced to fourth and third positions under the floodlights of the night event after crashing in practice on Friday; where she set the fourth-fastest lap-time.
Prinz was in fourth place at the start of race one, but due to a race accident it was stopped after five laps. Said Prinz: "I gained my speed back quickly on the re-start, I improved to third position a few laps from the finish and it looked like I’d get a podium result." She missed the box by 0,035 seconds, after losing some tyre-grip in the closing stages, putting her fourth. "Obviously to miss the podium by such a small margin is a bit annoying," added 30-year-old Prinz.
"I tried to save my tyres in the second race, so began carefully as I didn´t want the same thing to happen to me again. I pushed hard towards the end and managed to distance my rival from the earlier race."
The strategy did pay dividends and Prinz - the only woman in the field - finished in third, which sees her now tied for third place in the championship.
Added Prinz: "It was a good beginning to my campaign. That´s a decent starting-point despite the practice incident and the need to switch to the older bike. Once I´m sitting on my new race bike I should be able to compete closer to the front."
Result race 1: 1. Nasser Al Malki, QAT, BMW, 2. Alex Cudlin, AUS, Kawasaki, 3. Mashel Al Naimi, QAT, Honda, 4. Nina Prinz, GER, Suzuki, 5. Abdul Aziz Binladin, KSA, Kawasaki
Result race 2: 1. Alex Cudlin, AUS, Kawasaki, 2. Nasser Al Malki, QAT, BMW, 3. Nina Prinz, GER, Suzuki, 4. Mashel Al Naimi, QAT, Honda, 5. Saeed Al Sulaiti, QAT, Kawasaki
Overall (after 2 of 14 races): 1. Nasser Al Malki, QAT, BMW, 45 points, 2. Alex Cudlin, AUS, Kawasaki, 45p., 3. Mashel Al Naimi, QAT, Honda, 29p., 4. Nina Prinz, GER, Suzuki, 29p., 5. Saeed Al Sulaiti, QAT, Kawasaki, 22p.