Rajiv aims for Top 10 finish whileSenthil guns for points yet again!
With 6 wildcard entries, total 32 riders from 8 nationsto battle in AP250 class this weekend
Chang International Circuit (Thailand), 28 November2019:The fight for Asia Production 250ccclass title has now reached Thai soil for the finale round of 2019 Asia RoadRacing Championship (ARRC) at Chang International Circuit, Thailand. Afterwinning points in each of the 6 rounds till now, ‘IDEMITSU Honda Racing India’-the only Indian team in Asia Production 250 class enters the finale roundfirmly in Top 9 out of 20 teams.
This weekend canjust be the game-changer for Honda’s Indian rider duo of Rajiv and Senthil. Inhis third ARRC season, Rajiv enters last round of AP 250 class with 33 pointsunder his belt. For 21-year-old Rajiv Sethu, Chang International Circuit holds ahistory of good performances. In 2018, he scored his maiden international pointhere. In 2019, Rajiv upped his game during the 3rd ARRC round atChang circuit recording the first Indian rider Qualifier finish in Top 7, newfastest lap time (1:53:573) and over 33% reduction in total race time gap withlead rider from 18 seconds to just 5 seconds within the 10 lap race. Rajiv isalready in top 16 out of the 40 riders in AP 250 class – which is a starkimprovement from his overall 27th position in 2018, but he isdetermined for a repeat top 10 finish this weekend as well. Meanwhile, thisweekend will be the best shot for Senthil to finish Top 25 in his maiden ARRCseason, considering he is most familiar with this track.
Speaking on thefinal round, Mr. Prabhu Nagaraj, VicePresident – Brand and Communication, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt.Ltd. said, “2019 has been a greatyear for IDEMITSU Honda Racing India team. With 2 Top-10 and 8 Top-15 finishes,Rajiv is now consistently riding with the top bunch. It was at Chang only thatRajiv had qualified in Top 7 earlier this year. Now we are confident that Rajivis primed better his record here and close 2019 season with a bang. Senthil toohas improved his race-craft and gained points in his debut season itself.IDEMITSU Honda Racing India is ready to take on the Thai challenge. Both ourriders know the intricacies of Chang. As the 2019 season wraps up this weekend,we are vying for a strong finish this season.”
This weekend, itwill be a clash of titans as the AP250 class grid will see 32 riders from 8Asia Oceania nations (Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taipei,HongKong, India). Expect fireworks this weekend with 5 of the top 8 underequalizer rule. With 4 of the top 5 riders chasing title coming from Hondastables, the Indonesian rider Irfan Ardiansyah must finish second to be crownedthe 2019 AP250 FIM Asian Champion. The AP 250 title fight heads for a tie-breakeras Indonesian riders Irfan Ardiansyah and Andy Muhammad are both tied at thetop with 176 points each. But with the double equalizer cut of 1000rpm on thetop runners, the championship may see new challenge from the next 3 riders onthe scoreboard (Awhin Sanjaya, Muklada Sarapuech and Aiki Iyoshi).
Looking forward tolast round of ARRC, Rajiv Sethu, theexperienced IDEMITSU Honda Racing India rider said, “Chang International Circuit is like a second home to me. This circuithas brought good fortune for my team and me in the past. I’m much more confidentof my riding style here. This weekend is about being in prime form,strategically moving ahead on the grid and avoiding any riding mistake whichcan push me back. While Thai riders have the home-ground advantage here and 6wildcards will heat up the competition even more, my aim is to be in top 10here.”
Sharing histhoughts, Senthil Kumar the rookieIDEMITSU Honda Racing India rider said, “Iam excited to return to Buriram (Thailand). In my last visit, I finished in Top20. As I feel much more comfortable on this track and my machine, I now aim togo full throttle and aim for points for the solo Indian team once again.”
Parallelly,the marquee Asia SuperBike 1000cc (ASB) class of ARRC 2019 will see the podiumcontender Malaysian rider Zaqhwan Zaidi of Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWAteam (ranked 4th) return in full form. The team has top personnel from Hondasubsidiaries across Asia & Oceania, including a race technician from India.
TheChang International Circuit will also witness the final round of Thailand Talent Cup (Honda’sdevelopment program for Asian riders) this weekend. Representing the next breedof Indian young racers going global with Honda will be Kritik Habib from Gadag,Karnataka (ranked 21st).
In its 24th year, the FIM Asia Road RacingChampionship (ARRC)is Asia’s most competitive motorcycle road racing championship. The 2019 seasonsees the battle play out in 7 rounds across 5 countries (Malaysia* 2,Australia, Thailand * 2, Japan & China) in 4 classes ASB1000, SuperSports600 (SS600), AP250 and Underbone (UB150).
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