The team will expand to two bikes for next season with Malaysian rider Hafizh Syahrin joining Leandro Mercado at the satellite Honda outfit
The MIE Racing Honda Team will be represented by two bikes on the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship field with Argentinean rider Leandro ‘Tati’ Mercado being joined on the grid by Malaysia’s Hafizh Syahrin. The team will run with two Honda CBR1000RR-R bikes in 2022, expanding from the current one-rider setup the team have used throughout the 2021 campaign.
Syahrin has spent more than a decade competing in the MotoGP™ paddock including nine seasons in Moto2™ and two in the premier class. The Malaysian rider started his Moto2™ career in 2011 with a one-off appearance at his home Malaysian Grand Prix, before repeating that in 2012 when he claimed his first podium in front of his home fans.
Four Moto2™ races beckoned for Syahrin in 2013 before he got his first full-season campaign in 2014 as he claimed a best result of seventh place. He was able to better this the following season with fifth before his best-ever season in terms of Championship position with ninth; becoming a consistent top-ten runner. 2017 was his last season in Moto2™ before a two-year stint in MotoGP™ and he claimed two podiums on his way to tenth in the standings.
A move to MotoGP™ following in 2018 where he was a regular points scorer, claiming a best result of ninth in just his second race in the premier class. He finished his debut campaign with 46 points and in 16th place in the Championship after a season on Yamaha machinery. He remained in MotoGP™ for 2019 on KTM machinery as he finished 23rd in the standings before moving back to Moto2™ for 2020 and 2021. His best result in his second Moto2™ stint, prior to the last race of 2021, was sixth secured at Jerez in 2020.
Sayhrin was enthusiastic about his new challenge, saying: “I would like to thank the team, Midori Moriwaki especially, and Honda for the belief and trust they put in me. I am sure we will be able to work well together and hopefully produce good results. I will do my very best as always. This will be a new challenge for me, and I am enthusiastic about getting started! I would like to thank all the sponsors, my family, friends, and the fans as well for their continuous support - I know everyone is as excited as I am! Bring it on!”
Mercado remains with the team after joining for the 2021 campaign, providing some continuity with the rider line-up. The team opted to miss some rounds of the 2021 season to optimise their machine, with Mercado returning to consistently score points and try to fight for the top ten, with a best result of eighth place so far.
Mercado has plenty of WorldSBK experience to his name having competed in 153 races in his career to date with a best result of sixth place, while he also won the 2014 European Superstock 1000 title. With a year of experience on Honda machinery under his belt, ‘Tati’ will be looking to push on in 2022 to become a regular top-ten contender.
Argentinean rider Mercado expressed his delight at staying with MIE Honda Racing Team for a second campaign. He said: “I am very happy to continue with the MIE Racing Honda Team and with this project in the Superbike World Championship. I think we have done a good job this year and made consistent progress, but we still have more to do and more to give! We can, and must, get better results and for this reason it is important to be able to continue working on this project, which gives me so much motivation. I want to thank Midori Moriwaki for believing in me, the whole team for the great work they do, and the sponsors for their support. For my part, I will give 100% to continue our growth.”
Midori Moriwaki, Team Principal at MIE Racing Honda Team, added"We are extremely happy to confirm two strong riders like Leandro Mercado and Hafizh Syahrin, thus doubling up on our line-up for the 2022 World Superbike season. “Tati” has been great this season, always maintaining a positive and determined attitude, despite some challenging moments for the team, and making an important contribution to the solid progress we have made over the year. He is fast, determined, and experienced and, by extending our collaboration, we will bring continuity to our project. We have been following Hafizh’s career over the years, ever since he ran his first wildcard race in the Moto2™ World Championship on a Moriwaki bike (Malaysia 2011) at just 16 years old. He is one of many strong riders to have emerged from the vibrant and competitive racing scene on the Asian continent, where motorcycling is a much-loved and extremely popular sport. Hafizh is very talented and competitive and will be a very valuable addition to our team and the Superbike World Championship.”
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