Qualifying for the two 15 lap encounters saw Taree native Cudlin record the second-fastest time behind Honda CBR1000RR-mounted Mashel Al Naimi. Cudlin used the qualifying session to focus on a set-up using the tyres he would in the race, rather than the qualifying tyres Al Naimi used to secure pole position, but was confident he had the speed to win.
At the drop of the flag for race one it would be Cudlin, Al Naimi and Nasser Al Malki – the top three from the previous championship – who would streak clear of the field. However Nasser’s time at the front would be short lived as Al Naimi and Cudlin pulled a clear gap and Al Malki dropped back to the remaining pack. Cudlin put a race-winning move on Al Naimi with five laps remaining, eventually pulling a 3sec gap to take the flag. Al Naimi took second place with Al Malki in third.
Cudlin and Al Naimi again dropped the field at the start of race two to wage a battle for victory between themselves. But this time Cudlin couldn’t get away from his World Endurance teammate and it came down to a fight to the last lap when Cudlin passed Al Naimi at turn six and managed to hold on for a hard-fought win. The result sees Cudlin with a full house of 50 points from the opening round, the perfect way to start his search for a fifth Qatari title.
Alex Cudlin: “I’m really happy to be back racing in Qatar for QMMF. The race weekend went perfectly, and it’s obvious I’m going to have to ride at the top of my game because Mashel has clicked another gear in his riding and gave me a really hard time in that second race. I had some issues with my bike in that we seemed to have lost a fair bit of straight line speed so the team will hopefully address that for the following race, but it was still fast enough to just hang on for the win. There’s still a long way to go but I’m happy to get back to Qatar for another season of racing.”
The next race for the 2014/15 Qatari Superbike Championship is at the Losail Circuit in Doha, Qatar on 31 October-1 November.