Rajiv becomes 1st Indian to qualify in Top 7 in AP 250 class of ARRC
Today turned out to a mixed day for IDEMITSU Honda Racing India team’s riders duo of Rajiv Sethu and Senthil in Round 3 of FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) in Buriram.
After consistent top 15 in yesterday’s practice, today’s morning qualifier saw Rajiv Sethu record the Best Ever Finish by an Indian rider in top 7. Improving his race craft further, his gap with lead rider Muklada further reduced to under 1 second, the least ever so far.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t maintain this momentum in Race 1. A poor start lost him 14 positions from his first ever 3rd row start. Yet persevering on aggressively, Rajiv made quick recovery. By lap 3 he overtook 1 rider, by lap 5 he gained on 3 more. By the start of last 10th lap, Rajiv had returned to his targeted 10th position. But then, searching for a slipstream came the high-side resulting in a crash in Turn 3. Despite minor damage in handle-bar, Rajiv managed to finish the race.
Starting 20th on grid, Senthil made a good start but couldn’t surge ahead till the 8th lap. Thereon, he gained over 2 riders in the last 2 laps to finally close at 18th position.
Race 1 saw battle start from the word go and ended at the chequered flag with Honda riders ruling all 3 positions in podium. Leading the bunch were Thai rider duo of Muklada Sarapuech (1st) and Tatchakorn Buasri (2nd) from A.P Honda Racing followed by Indonesian rider Irfan Ardiansyah from Astra Honda (3rd).
Quote of Mr. Prabhu Nagaraj, Vice President – Brand and Communications, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd.
“After a great start, we were confident of achieving our target today. I’m happy that the rider and machine are competing in the top lot now with Rajiv achieving his best ever 7th spot in qualifying. Surely, we missed a great opportunity. Rajiv’s fighting spirit stood out and led to his recovery back to Top 10 until the crash in last lap. Tomorrow, our first target is to maintain the qualify position and achieve Top 10 target.”
Quote of IDEMITSU Honda Racing India rider Rajiv Sethu:
“After my best ever qualifier finish, I was charged up for Race 1. But I missed a good start and got held back in the chasing bunch. However, I made a steady recovery and by the last lap returned to Top 10. I pushed harder but crashed. My aim then was to just finish the race. I’m sad to not meet my target but I learnt a lot. Tomorrow, my aim is to finish in top 10.”
Quote of IDEMITSU Honda Racing India rider Senthil Kumar:
“I started strong but after early impact with another rider, I lost my bunch in turn 5 of lap 1. Thereafter, I rode the next 7 laps alone with focus on correcting my mistakes. My target for tomorrow is to correct my mistakes and challenge for a Top 15 finish.”
In ASB1000cc class, Malaysian rider Zaqhwan Zaidi of Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA team overtook 1 rider from his 3rd position start to finish 2nd in race 1 fighting intensely till the end with the winner Azlan Shah.
Parallely, Honda’s Indian teen rider duo of Kritik Habib finished at his best ever 9th spot in Race 1 of Honda Thailand Talent Cup (Honda’s development program for Asian riders run on NSF250R) while Mohammad Mikail had an unfortunate crash while avoiding impact with the rider before him.
About 2019 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship: FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) is Asia’s most competitive motorcycle road racing championship, now in its 24th year. The 2019 season has 7 rounds across 5 countries (Malaysia* 2, Australia, Thailand * 2, Japan & China). The battle for 2019 championship has now shifted from Australia to the Chang International Circuit, Buriram province, Thailand.
In 2019, ARRC features four classes – the newly introduced premier class of Asia Superbike 1000 (ASB1000), SuperSports 600 (SS600), Asia Production 250 (AP250) and Underbone class (UB150). Representing the solo Indian team at the event – IDEMITSU Honda Racing India, are two riders – Rajiv Sethu and the rookie Senthil Kumar who fight on the CBR250RR.