disappointing qualifier, Race 1 of the 4th round of FIM Asia Road
Racing Championship (ARRC) saw the solo Indian team DEMITSU Honda Racing India add
more points on Japanese soil.
morning qualifier saw Rajiv Sethu qualify 13th with a 5th
row start on the grid. Despite a good start, a cornering mistake in turn 16 dragged
him to 15th position riding neck to neck with bunch of 4 riders. A
quick overtake by Indonesian rider Anggi Setiawan though took him out of the
top 15 in Lap 6. But recovering fast, Rajiv overtook Honda’s thai rider Tatkorin
Buasri in the penultimate 7th lap to regain his spot in top 15. The
last lap was about avoiding any mistake to stay in top 15 and ensure points for
Starting 24th on grid, Senthil put up a tough fight. He jumped to 23rd by lap 2, overtook a rider to reach 22nd by lap 3 but was returned to 23rd in lap 6. He maintained this pace till the last corner of the 8 lap race where he crashed and damaged his machine but managed to finish the race.
again, it was the Indonesian riders who ruled the AP250 podium finish. Creating
a significant lead over from start itself, Andy was first to cross the
chequered line in 19:59:715 but the battle for 2nd spot raged on till the
chequered flag. Astra Honda rider Irfan Ardiansyah (2nd) followed by Reynaldo
Christantho (3rd) finally completed the podium.
Quote Mr. Prabhu Nagaraj, Vice President – Brand &
Communications, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd.
qualifier was disappointing for all of us. Our aim was for the top 2 rows but
we could manage only 5th row start. Some mistake during Qualifying
cost us a good opportunity to better our position. However, Rajiv is
consistently in the top 15. Tomorrow, our aim is to gain over the 13th start
and enter the top 10 yet again. No doubt, this means a lot of hard work but we
are up for the challenge.”
Quote of IDEMITSU Honda Racing India rider Rajiv Sethu:
“My qualifier finish
today was a letdown. I was in the top 7 in qualifier but coming back to pit in
last 2 minutes was a wrong decision. The other riders got a good slipstream due
to which I got pushed back to 13th. In the afternoon race, I
overtook 6 riders at the start itself to reach 7th spot. But late
braking in hairpin corner of lap 1 pushed me back to second group of 4 riders
and it was very difficult to leave them behind. Suzuka being a technical flowing track, I have to keep my cool while
improving my race-craft and timing consistently. With today’s learnings, I will
push harder and aim for top 10 tomorrow.”
Quote of IDEMITSU Honda Racing India rider Senthil Kumar:
“I got into a rhythm
by the 3rd lap and pushed in the 4th lap, but crashed due
to rider impact in lap 5, qualifying 24th overall. In the race, I
couldn’t make a good start and lost 2 positions but overtook 3 riders in lap 1.
Thereafter, I couldn’t stay with the bunch and was fighting till the last lap.
But a hit by rider in the last corner of lap 8 resulted in my finishing only 28th.”
With its combination of chicanes and straights, Suzuka is the
most technical high-speed track of the championship and just one mistake proves
to be costly for riders. The 7 home-grown wild card entries which take the
total rider tally to 32 from 7 Asian countries are making the Suzuka battle
more intense. Race 2 tomorrow will determine the winner of this critical round
mid-way into the season.
In ASB1000cc class, Malaysian rider Zaqhwan Zaidi of
Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA team maintained his winning streak and
qualified 1st. In race 1, a wide cornering put the front-runner to 4th
but overtaking 2 riders he finished 2nd.