The 2018 Malaysian Superbike Championship (MSBK) has been an interesting outing for ace Indian rider, Rajini Krishnan. The Chennai-based racer made an awesome debut by winning the inaugural race of the season and also scored a few podium finishes in the opening two rounds, riding the Yamaha R1. However, a few DNF mid-season meant that the final two rounds were vital for his championship standings. The champion racer delivered in Round 4 of MSBK as he finished in second position in Race 1 and went on to win Race 2, defeating Azlasn Shah, who has competed in Moto2.
Rajini looked confident for the final round of the season at Sepang and a brilliant ride in Race 1 saw the Chennai-based racer finish in second position. However, things went awry in the final race of the season. The weather changed swiftly and it started raining as the riders positioned themselves on the starting grid. Given the severity of the rainfall, race direction declared it as a wet race. This meant teams had a 15-min window to switch to wet tyres.
Rajinis’s team didn’t have a spare wheel, so the team decided to remove the slick tyre and replace it with the wet tyre. But, according MSBK rules, team can only change tyres 45min prior to the race. Since the switch in tyres would push Rajini to the back of the grid, the racer decided to go ahead with slick tyres. On the sighting lap, the ace racer faced some close calls and, reluctantly, decided to not race, which meant he finished the season in third position, just one point behind the runner-up.
According to Rajini, the results in the season could have been better with better braking hardware as he was racing with stock brakes, while most of his competitors were running race-spec braking units. Despite the last round disappointment, Rajini is upbeat for a better performance next year and is hoping for more support and sponsorship funding in the 2019 MSBK season.