Midway into season, IDEMITSU Honda RacingIndia Team crosses 20 points mark for 1st time
· Adding 4 more points to thetally 21-year-old Rajiv Sethu in Top 14 riders
· With 22 points, the soloIndian team is now in Top 7 Teams of AP 250 class Championship
Buriram Circuit (Thailand), 2 June 2019: Today turnedout to be another day of gaining points for IDEMITSU Honda Racing India team’sriders duo of Rajiv Sethu and Senthil in the final race of Round 3 FIM AsiaRoad Racing Championship (ARRC) in Buriram.
Boosted byhis maiden third row start from 7th, Rajiv made a good start overtaking2 riders at start line itself. For the next 5, Rajiv was in top 9 riding inless than 1 second gap. In turn 4 of lap 6, Indonesian rider Rafid had ahigh-side and Rajiv exceeded track limit to save himself from crash slipping to10th. From 7th lap onwards, Rajiv, Rafid and 3 moreriders fought to maintain their positions. It was on the slipstream in homestraight of lap 9 that Rajiv emerged 12th. Fighting till the lastcorner, Rajiv took the call to avoid the risk of crash and maintained hisposition to win 4 points in race 2.
This round,Rajiv showed remarkable improvement, recording the first Indian rider Qualifierfinish in Top 7, new fastest lap time (1:53:573) and over 33% reduction in totalrace time gap with lead rider from 18 seconds to just 5 seconds in the 10 laprace.
His rookie team-mate,Senthil ended the race with no gain, no loss at 20th out of 25riders.
The hot andsweltering weather condition was matched by heated AP250 race 2 on track too.After Thai rider Muklada returned to pits in starting lap, the frenzy continuedtill end line with A.P Honda’s Thai rider Tatchakorn Buasri stopping the clockfollowed by Indonesian Honda rider Awhin Sanjaya (2nd) and MuhammadFaerozy completing the AP 250 race 2 podium.
Withcurtains down at Buriram, IDEMITSU Honda Racing India has breached the 20points mark with total of 22 points in its kitty, before mid of 2019 season,taking it to TOP 7 teams of the AP250 championship. Snapping another 4 points, Rajivis ranked 14th with 22 points and Senthil at 21st with 2points in his debut season.
Quote of Mr. Minoru Kato, President & CEO, HondaMotorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd.
“Honda wants to lead motorsports in India andcreate an iconic World champion from here. Historically, India might not havebeen at the forefront of racing in Asian region, but looking at the progress ofour team at ARRC in last 2 years, I strongly believe that we are on the righttrack. Our riders have started coming in the top bunch, the team is much moreexperienced now and experts like ex-MotoGP rider Mr. Koyama are further adding newvalue. Parallely, Honda’s Indian technicians are already learning the ropes fornext level of racing in the ASB1000 class.”
Quote of Mr. Prabhu Nagaraj, Vice President – Brandand Communications, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd.
“Aftertoday, I can confidently say that our team has entered the next level ofracing. Rajiv raced in the top bunch for the first time. Learning race-craftfrom Asia’s best riders gives him new insights to accelerate his performanceexponentially moving ahead. For Senthil, the learning phase will continue onhow to ride with Asia’s best by adapting fast to the new machine and newtracks. While the round ends today, preparation for next challenge startstomorrow when the team flies to Japan for Suzuka 4-Hour Endurance race forfirst time. This will further add to their track and riding style before Round4 in June end at Suzuka circuit itself.”
Quote of IDEMITSU Honda Racing India rider Rajiv Sethu:
“Today,I raced my best out of my 24 ARRC races in 3 years. For the first time, Ifought in top 5 in 2 laps and I had my maiden opportunity to taste the frontbunch of AP250. Overall, I learnt a lot in Thai round and will be using thisexperience going forward. Last year, after my wrist fracture I couldn’t racewell in Japan. This year I will surely benefit from my experience in Suzuka 4-HourEndurance race next weekend and will apply the learning in upcoming June endround in Suzuka.”
Quote of IDEMITSU Honda Racing India rider Senthil Kumar:
“Race2 started on a good note for me. By turn 3 of lap 1, I had overtaken 6 ridersbut exceeded track limit while cornering. I had returned to starting 20thposition by lap 4 but Malaysian rider Shahrol had an impact with me on Turn 3. WhileShahrol crashed out, I went in the mud to save myself but couldn’t join the frontbunch due to increased gap. Overall, I couldn’t match my targets with resultsin Buriram but I learnt a lot here. With the next race in Suzuka circuit, Japanprobably the toughest track in the world, I am excited and waiting to learnthere.”
In ASB1000cc class, Malaysian rider ZaqhwanZaidi of Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA team continued his golden run andfinished 4th, taking Honda’s solo team and rider both to Top 4 in flagshipclass.
Parallely,development of NextGen millennial riders of India too got a push. Honda’sIndian teen rider duo racing in the Honda Talent Cup (Honda’s developmentprogram for Asian riders run on NSF250R) made further gains. Afer his firstever Top 9 finish in debut season yesterday, Kritik Habib crashed out in lap 8after the bike behind him hit him on the corner. Mohammad Mikail was the 13thto cross the chequered line.
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