After great start, day ends with mixedresults for the Indian team in Race 1
· AP250 class Qualifying: Rajiv recordsBEST EVER finish in top 7 records with fastest lap time of 1:53:573; Senthilreduces lap time by another second but starts race 20th on grid
· AP 250 class Race 1: Bad startpushes Rajiv back to 21st, recovers to 10th only to beput down by a high-side in last lap to finish 22nd; Senthil gains 2positions to finish 18th
Buriram Circuit (Thailand), 1 June 2019: Todayturned out to a mixed day for IDEMITSU Honda Racing India team’s riders duo of RajivSethu and Senthil in Round 3 of FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) inBuriram.
Afterconsistent top 15 in yesterday’s practice,today’s morning qualifier saw Rajiv Sethu record the Best Ever Finish by anIndian rider in top 7. Improving his race craft further, his gap with leadrider 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 14positions 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 on3 more. By the start of last 10th lap, Rajiv had returned to histargeted 10th position. But then, searching for a slipstream camethe high-side resulting in a crash in Turn 3. Despite minor damage inhandle-bar, Rajiv managed to finish the race.
Starting 20thon grid, Senthil made a good start but couldn’t surge ahead till the 8thlap. Thereon, he gained over 2 riders in the last 2 laps to finally close at 18thposition.
Race 1 saw battle start from the word go andended at the chequered flag with Honda riders ruling all 3 positions in podium.Leading the bunch were Thai rider duo of Muklada Sarapuech (1st) andTatchakorn Buasri (2nd) from A.P Honda Racing followed by Indonesianrider Irfan Ardiansyah from Astra Honda (3rd).
Quote of Mr. Prabhu Nagaraj, Vice President – Brandand Communications, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd.
“Aftera great start, we were confident of achieving our target today. I’m happy thatthe rider and machine are competing in the top lot now with Rajiv achieving hisbest ever 7th spot in qualifying. Surely, we missed a greatopportunity. Rajiv’s fighting spirit stood out and led to his recovery back toTop 10 until the crash in last lap. Tomorrow, our first target is to maintainthe qualify position and achieve Top 10 target.”
Quote of IDEMITSU Honda Racing India rider Rajiv Sethu:
“After mybest ever qualifier finish, I was charged up for Race 1. But I missed a good startand got held back in the chasing bunch. However, I made a steady recovery andby the last lap returned to Top 10. I pushed harder but crashed. My aim thenwas 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:
“Istarted strong but after early impact with another rider, I lost my bunch inturn 5 of lap 1. Thereafter, I rode the next 7 laps alone with focus oncorrecting my mistakes. My target for tomorrow is to correct my mistakes andchallenge for a Top 15 finish.”
In ASB1000cc class, Malaysian rider ZaqhwanZaidi of Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA team overtook 1 rider from his 3rdposition start to finish 2nd in race 1 fighting intensely till theend with the winner Azlan Shah.
Parallely,Honda’s Indian teen rider duo of Kritik Habib finished at his best ever 9thspot in Race 1 of Honda Thailand Talent Cup (Honda’s development program forAsian riders run on NSF250R) while Mohammad Mikail had an unfortunate crashwhile avoiding impact with the rider before him.
About 2019 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship:FIMAsia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) is Asia’s most competitive motorcycle roadracing championship, now in its 24th year. The 2019 season has 7rounds across 5 countries (Malaysia* 2, Australia, Thailand * 2, Japan &China). The battle for 2019 championship has now shifted from Australia to theChang International Circuit, Buriram province, Thailand.
In 2019,ARRC features four classes - the newly introduced premier class of AsiaSuperbike 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 rookieSenthil Kumar who fight on the CBR250RR.
About the New Balancing Various Motorcycle Concepts rule:
Makingthe competition even more tough is the new BalancingVarious Motorcycle Concepts rule introduced in Asia Production 250 class in2019. The rule has been created to bring equality among competing motorcyclesand balance the performance by adjusting the RPM limit of top 5 riders inoverall championship. The first equalizer, a 500rpm reduction to the rev limitwill be applied once any of the top 4 riders acquire a 25 –point lead over theother competitors in the top 5. The adjusted RPM limit will stay throughout theseason or further adjusted if they are affected by second or third equaliser. After2 rounds, top riders of AP 250cc class Aiki Iyoshi (Japan) and Andy MuhammadFadly (Indonesia) are the first to be affected by first equaliser (500rpm reduction).
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