After delivering best ever performance in round 1 of FIM Asia Road Racing Championship 2019 (ARRC) in Sepang; IDEMITSU Honda Racing India team’s riders pushed hard in today’s Asia Production 250 Qualifying at the Bend Motorsport Park near Adelaide today.
The 4.95km long Bend
trackwith its technical corners and fast-flowing sections proved to a tougher
adversary today after early morning showers.
But the Indian duo continued to climb ranks in the afternoon AP 250 Qualifier.
Rajiv pushed hard to close the AP 250 qualifier in Top
12 with best lap time of 2:11:738. This was a significant improvement for
Rajiv over from his best practice lap time of 2:12:130. Shaving off seconds in each
track outing, Rajiv has already reduced his gap with lead rider Andy to 3.1
Meanwhile, learning continued for 18-year-old rookie Senthil Kumar who gained his first ever wet race experience in the morning third practice. In his first Bend outing, Senthil closed in top 18 with best lap time of 2:13:876. Pushing harder, Senthil’sgap with the lead rider has now reduced to 5.250 seconds compared to his best practice lap time gap of 8.412 seconds.
Tomorrow’s race 1
will see reigning AP 250 champion Andy Muhammad Fadly from Indonesia who
stopped the clock with best lap time of 2:08:626 lead the grid, followed by
Japanese rider AikiIyoshi at 2nd and the wonder woman
MukladaSarapuech from Honda Racing Thailand at 3rd spot.
Sharing an overview
on today’s qualifier, Mr. Prabhu
Nagaraj, Vice President – Brand and Communications, Honda Motorcycle &
Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. said, “The
morning rains gave us some tense moments but the Indian team emerged stronger
than before. Rajiv riding is evolving every time he goes on track. Rajiv
qualified 12th on the grid, which is his best ever qualifying
position.This can give him the push to finish in the top 10 for the first time.
For Senthil, Australia is a complete new ballgame. He faced the wet race for
the first time today but he’s showing significant improvement. If the team and
Senthil play it right, we just might earn points yet again in tomorrow’s race
Satisfied with his
performance today and charged up for tomorrow, Honda’s third timer ARRC rider Rajiv Sethu said, “Bend is a complicated track. The many elevations coupled with strong
winds make it unpredictable for riders. Last year, I could do only 5 laps as I
suffered a crash in practice 3. This time, I had more laps on track and
improved to qualify in 12th position – which is my best ever
qualifying result. Tomorrow, my mantra will be to stay calm, understand the race
in initial laps, then plan and push ahead. My goal is to break into the Top 10
for the first time in the 9 lap race tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, the 18-year-old
rookie riderSenthil Kumar is working
hard to grab points for India in this tough weekend andsaid, “Today’s FP3 was my first wet race. Riding
with a bunch of riders, I could improve my riding line and entry speed. I
almost crashed in lap 5 but made fast recovery. Overall, my gap with lead rider
has reduced and I finished 18th. Tomorrow, I plan to stay with the
bunch in the first few laps and then set a pace and challenge myself to finish
in Top 15th.”