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Quartararo tops timesheet again on second day of 2020 MotoGP winter test

SEPANG, Another strong move from Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT), as Fabio Quartararo once again topped the timesheet on the second day of the 2020 MotoGP pre-season winter test at the Sepang Circuit today.

The Frenchman made his mark on his brand new 2020 factory-spec Yamaha YZR-M1 for the first time to set the fastest lap one minute 58.572 seconds after completing 72 laps.

He was 0.069s faster than Jack Miller of Pramac Racing (1:58.641s), followed by another stellar performance by Dani Pedrosa of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (1:58.662s).

I am really positive because this is only our first day with the bike. We did 72 laps, which is quite a lot, but I’m so happy to already feel good on the bike. It is difficult to make a new bike really good in one day. We hope to make another step tomorrow.

We had quite a lot of laps in the 1:59.00s on old tyres so that’s really positive. We need to improve the pace a little bit because I am not feeling 100 percent comfortable.

We know that with a new bike you have some positive points and some parts that you are struggling a bit, but at the moment I have already found the positives in one day, said Quartararo in a statement issued by the team.

His team mate, Franco Morbidelli of Italy finished fifth with a time of 1:58.831s, better than yesterday’s test where he clocked 1:58.996s.

Testing will resume for the final day at the Sepang Circuit tomorrow morning at 10 am with the chequered flag closing the action on the first official test of 2020 at 6pm.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

White Jersey winner Mamat not placing high hopes on stage three

KEMAMAN, Terengganu Inc. TSG Cycling Team’s sprint specialist Mohd Harrif Saleh is not confident of holding on to the White Jersey for the best Asian rider despite winning it in the second stage of the Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) 2020 today.

The 31-year-old rider said stage three tomorrow would be particularly tough as it involves many hilly stretches, which would give an edge to hill-climb riders.

“I am happy with the victory today but expect the Kazakhstan riders (from Vino-Astana Motors) to dominate day three tomorrow because most of them are very experienced in hilly terrain.

“So, maybe the chances are good for Carlos (Julian Quintero) of Colombia, who is experienced in both hilly and flat terrains but I hope not to be left far behind, he told reporters today.

Mohd Harrif, who is fondly known as ‘Mamat’, grabbed the White Jersey after clocking 4 hr 5 min and 29 sec to finish among the top 10 in stage two, which at 261.1km is the longest route in the cycling race, which will end in Pulau Langkawi, Kedah on Feb 15.

Former TSG Cycling Team rider Muhamad Adiq Husainie Othman, who announced his retirement in January last year, is the only Malaysian to have won the White Jersey in the prestigious Asian race since its inception in 1996.

Another national rider, Muhamad Nur Aiman Mohd Zariff of Team Sapura Cycling, expressed satisfaction with his performance today after grabbing nine points in three intermediate sprint zones — Chendering, Rantau Abang and Bandar Al Muktafi Billah Shah.

That enabled the Setiu-born rider to earn a time bonus of nine seconds and jump to fourth overall with a total time of 5 hr 57 min and 38 sec after two stages.

The 162.5km stage three tomorrow is from Dataran Temerloh to KLCC, involving three sprint zones in Mentakab, Desa Bakti and Mempaga and three climbing zones in Bukit Damar, Bentong and Genting Sempah.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

New SOP to curb spread of coronavirus at wheelchair tennis tournament

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia as the host nation of the wheelchair tennis 2020 World Team Cup has set a new standard operating procedure (SOP) as a precautionary measure to curb the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection.

Wheelchair Tennis Malaysia (WTM) president Muhd Iqbal Sulaiman said the new procedures included athletes participating in the tournament especially from China to get a vaccination along with medical verification letter from a doctor before being allowed to compete.

He said the Immigration would also provide a special lane at the airport for the participants to undergo thermal screening procedure.

They also have to attach their itinerary during the week before arriving in Malaysia to facilitate health screening, he said when met at the Malaysian Paralympic Council’s press conference on the postponement of the 10th ASEAN Para Games in the Philippines, here today.

Muhd Iqbal said the decision to proceed with the Asian qualifiers for 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, was made during a discussion between WTM and the International Tennis Federation.

The tournament, scheduled to be held from March 4 to 7 at the National Tennis Centre in Jalan Duta, will feature 70 athletes from 10 countries namely Malaysia, Colombia, Iran, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Australia and Sri Lanka.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

Australian rider wins second stage of 2020 LTdL

KEMAMAN, Australian rider, Taj Jones won the second stage of 2020 Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) cycling race, involving a distance of 261.1km from Dataran Batu Buruk to Bandar Baru Kerteh, here, today.

The Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast crossed the finish line first ahead of remaining nine top finishers in a bunch sprint with a total time of 4 hours 05 minutes and 29 seconds.

NTT Pro Cycling Team, Maximilian Richard Walscheid of Germany who won the 2020 LTdL curtain-raiser, Kota Kinabalu International Criterium, last Thursday, came in second place, while the French rider, Jeremy Lecroq of B and B Hotels-Vital Concept in third.

Local rider, Mohd Harrif Saleh of Terengganu Inc. TSG Cycling Team emerged as the Best Malaysian Rider after finishing fifth.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

TM returns as title sponsor for Malaysia Cup

KUALA LUMPUR, Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) through its subsidiary, TM Multimedia (TMM), today signed a collaboration agreement with the Malaysian Football League (MFL), making the telecommunications company the main sponsor of the Malaysia Cup competition.

The three-year deal with the amount undisclosed, also sees TM as co-sponsor of the Super League, Premier League, FA Cup and Challenge Cup fixtures in the Malaysian League (M-League) starting Feb 28.

The collaboration, aimed at the development of local football, was signed by MFL acting chief executive officer, Datuk Ab Ghani Hassan and TMM chief executive officer, Moharmustaqeem Mohammed, witnessed by MFL president, Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin.

We are thrilled to rekindle our partnership with MFL, making TM the longest-running sponsor for a football programme in Southeast Asia.

“We want to bring exciting football to all Malaysians, especially the matches involving the Malaysia Cup, FA Cup, Charity Shield, Super League and the historic and most-loved in the country, the Premier League,” Moharmustaqeem said at a press conference, here, today.

Meanwhile, Hamidin who is also Football Association of Malaysia president, expressed his confidence in TM’s commitment to revitalising the local football scene based on the role and contributions of the telecommunications company had played before this.

TM’s long-term commitment to the league proves that the M-League has the potential. TM has always been a loyal supporter of Malaysian football and MFL is grateful to TM for bringing Malaysians together, he said.

TM through its brand Unifi had already signed an eight-year contract worth RM480 million with MFL in January 2018 to become an M-League sponsor.

However, in March 2019, MFL and TM terminated the contract after both parties failed to reach an agreement.

All Super League, FA Cup and Malaysia Cup matches will be broadcast live via unifi TV service on five unifi sports channels (channels 701-705).

However, to enjoy all the live games, football fans have to subscribe to the unifi TV Ultimate Pack while customers without the pack can purchase a watch pass to see the matches on unifi TV through Media Box or unifi PlayTV app.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

2020 National Junior Squash meet gets massive response

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7– A total of 554 young players will take part in the 15th National Junior Squash Championship that will be held from Feb 11-16.

According to a statement by the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM), due to the overwhelming response, the championships will be played at two venues – the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil and the Squash Centre in Jalan Duta.

SRAM coaching director Maj (R) S.Maniam said the finals will be played at the National Squash Centre’s Nicol David Arena in Bukit Jalil.

They will be five age categories: the under-11 (U11), U13, U15, U17 and U19 for the boys and girls divisions.

Key players to watch out in the girls event are 2020 British Junior Open (BJO) winner Harleein Tan and BJO finalists, siblings Aifa and Aira Azman.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

Quartararo, Morbidelli lead the way in Sepang opening day test

SEPANG, Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT) riders, Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli recorded a one-two position on the first day of the 2020 MotoGP pre-season winter test at the Sepang Circuit today.

According to a statement by the team, the Frenchman completed 52 laps on the Malaysian track, with a best time of one minute 58.945 seconds.

It feels good after almost three months to be back on track. Today was just about getting used to being back on the MotoGP bike. We used last year’s version just to get a few laps in and we set a really good lap time with the medium tyre at the beginning of the day.

We’re hoping for better weather tomorrow so that we can work even more and I’m looking forward to see what my first impressions of the new bike are. It’s always good to start quickest but it’s only the first day of the test . Everybody starts with new bikes, it’s not easy for them, said Quartararo.

Morbidelli was second overall and top of the timing screens, just 0.051s (1:58.996s) behind his team mate.

Despite the rain restricting track time, Morbidelli completed more laps during the afternoon and finished the day in second, 0.199s faster than Alex Rins of Team Suzuki Ecstar (1:59.195s)

We were immediately fast and made the right changes to the bike to get the right feeling. Tomorrow we will try some other small things that we have on the programme to try but overall I am very happy.

We are a little bit faster on the straight, so that is a positive and what we wanted. The behaviour of the bike remains the same though so it is still nice to ride and flowing, but we have a little bit more top speed, said Morbidelli.

The Sepang test will resume tomorrow at 10am and will draw to a close at 6pm, ahead of the final day on Sunday.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)