· Despite injuries, Rajiv Sethu records Top 15 finish, adding 1 more point for India
· Senthil - the Youngest Indian rider in Asia’s toughest championships in ARRC gains 5 positions to finish 17th
· AP250 Championship Standing: Team (9th), Rajiv (16th), Senthil (27th)
Sepang International Circuit (Malaysia) 22 September 2019: Sunday’s final race of round 6 at Sepang International Circuit (Malaysia) once again brought cheer for IDEMITSU Honda Racing India - the solo Indian racing team battling for points at the Asia Road Racing Championship 2019 (ARRC).
Despite his back and hand injury from yesterday’s crash, Rajiv earned 1 more point for India with his eight top 15 finish this season in Asia Production 250cc (AP 250) class of ARRC.
Still learning the ropes of international racing in his debut ARRC season, 18-year-old Senthil continued his assault on time sheets to record his personal best lap record of 2:28:241 at Sepang. Despite his 8th row start from 22nd on the grid, Senthil quickly overtook Taipei’s Liu Junmei and Thailand’s Sawapol in lap 2 itself. Maintaining 20th in lap 3, he jumped to 19th in lap 4 and maintained his stance for the 3 rounds, only to finish 17th in final 8th lap, with 5 positions gain overall.
Today’s Race 2 of Asia Production 250cc class saw Indonesians dominate the top 6 ranks. In-fighting for the win went unabated till the chequered flag and took out two causalities - Rafid Topan and Muklada Sapapuech who crashed out in their attempt to lead in the last lap. Ultimately, it was Astra Honda Racing team’s Awhin Sanjaya who stopped the clock at 19:43:339. Hot on his heels was Andy Fadly trailing by only 0.048 seconds (19:43:387) and 3rd podium claimant Reynaldo Chrisantho (19:43:545).
Quote from Mr. Prabhu Nagaraj, Vice President – Brand and Communications, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd., “This weekend we couldn’t best our past. However, I’m satisfied that in spite of injury from yesterday’s crash in race 1, Rajiv closed in Top 15 with 1-point gain today. Senthil is now more confident and faster on his CBR 250RR and he was a story of recovery today. Now with Sepang over, we head back to India to analyze our performance, identify gap areas and improve further. Next up is Round 7 at Buriram circuit. Both our boys have a good experience there, and I’m sure that we will bounce back with strong results in December round.”
Quote from IDEMITSU Honda Racing India rider Rajiv Sethu
“Despite back and hand injury, I could get good confidence in morning warm-up after a bad crash yesterday. I started strong and had jumped up to 11th position in turn 2, I was sticking with the top 15 riders for about 4 laps. On 5th lap, I missed my gear and went out of the track, losing two positions. It was very difficult to recover especially as couldn’t push 100% due to my injury. I finished 15th. But frankly, this was not the goal I had set for myself this weekend. I have very good confidence in Buriram. Now I plan to recover fast and focus on my weak-points to fight for the top 15 in Championship. I will have to close in the top 10 in both the Thai races.”
Quote from IDEMITSU Honda Racing India rider Senthil Kumar
“In the morning warm-up, I recorded my fastest lap time of 2:28:241 and entered the race with confidence. But when a bad start shoved me to 29th, my first priority was to fast reverse this loss. In the first lap itself, I aggressively rode and overtook 7 riders to return to my starting 22nd position. In next lap, I overtook 2 more riders to climb to top 20. But by then, the gap between Shahrol and me had increased which I couldn't recover. However, with Thai rider Sawapol hot on my heels, I successfully defended my position to finish 17th. Next up, is the last round at Buriram (Thailand). With its 3 long straights, competition is tight as all riders are riding in a 2 to 3-second gap. I have to learn from my mistakes this weekend, better my corner exits and get more lean to ensure a top 15 finish there.”
IDEMITSU Honda Racing India is now stacked up in Top 9 teams of AP 250 class with 33 points. Rajiv is now placed 16th in the points tally with 33 points, while Senthil with no-gain-no-loss this weekend is tied at 26th out of 40 riders. As the Sepang outing draws to a close, the battle for 2019 ARRC Championship will re-commence in Round 7 finale at Buriram, Thailand in December.
Parallelly, Zaqhwan Zaidi of Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA team in ASB1000cc class finished 4th in today’s race 2, putting him 3rd in the championship.
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