Alex Murley finished the 2018 season with an encouraging ride to sixteenth position in the final round of the FIM Supersport World Championship at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar on Saturday.
The 5.4km circuit presents a unique challenge to the riders competing in WorldSSP as the race is held at night under floodlights.
Alex, who was competing at the circuit for the first time this, not only had to learn the track but also adjust to racing in the dark.
Improving his lap times throughout the two Free Practice sessions on Thursday, qualifying on a Friday saw further improvements, with Alex qualifying a respectable twenty-first, after knocking another second off his personal best lap time.
Severe weather disrupted Saturday evening’s race schedule, but after a delay of a couple of hours a shortened twelve lap race got underway.
The track, which was now starting to dry rapidly after the earlier sand and rain storms, still had streams of water flowing across it at various points, requiring even more skill from the young British teenager.
Crossing the line 16th and narrowly missing out on a first WorldSSP point was a high point in what has been a difficult season for Alex who made the jump from WorldSSP300 to race with the world’s best Supersport riders on the planet after the summer break.
Looking ahead to 2019, Murley hopes to remain in the World Superbike paddock and is assessing the options open to him.
Anyone interested in being part of the ‘team’, or anyone interested in knowing more about the sponsorship opportunities available for next season should contact him through his social media channels, links to which are embedded within this media release.
“It was a really different race weekend in Qatar, and really cool to end the season racing at night under floodlights, what an experience. FP1 was a bit of a shock to the system but I soon adapted. Unfortunately for FP2 we had a small technical problem but my GEMAR Lorini Honda team worked really well to fix it for FP3 and I was able to improve my times immediately. I felt that I rode the best I had all season in Superpole, after going another 1.5s faster! It was the closest I had been to the front all year on the longest track of the year, so everyone was pleased with the result. Race day was tricky. There was a massive storm and sand and rain covered the track. Luckily we got to race after a bit of a delay but the race didn’t go exactly as I wanted. After qualifying I wanted more, and I am confident that had the track conditions been better I could have scored my first World Supersport point. I am on the other hand happy to finish the season as top Brit in the final race and P16 at the flag. It gives me a lot of confidence for next year. If I look back at how the season started to how it finished I have a lot to be pleased with. The GEMAR Lorini Honda team have been fantastic and I can’t thank them enough for allowing me to be part of their team. A big thanks to Max, my Crew Chief, for all his advice and guidance. It’s a massive jump from the little 300! Big thanks to all my sponsors, Bell Powersports, GAERNE, Redfern Stevens, RST, MHP, Vroom Media and everyone who has stuck by me this year through thick and thin. A big thanks to my parents too. On to 2019!”
photo courtesy of Vaclav Duska jnr.