Despitebest ever 11th finish of Senthil and 13th of Rajiv; a 5position penalty on exceeding track limit takes them out of Top 15
· Goingfull throttle, IDEMITSU Honda Racing India team closes 2019 ARRC championshipin TOP 9 teams of AP 250 with 35 points
· With2 Top-10 & 9 Top 15 finishes; Rajiv closes 2019 at 17th (10 rankgain over 27th in 2018)
· Rookierider Senthil Kumar closes maiden AP250 Championship at 30th out of44 riders
Chang International circuit (Thailand) 1 December 2019: Despite scoring adouble whammy top 15 finish by both the Indian riders of IDEMITSU Honda Racing India, the solo Indian racing team in theAP250 (Asia Production 250cc) class of Asia Road Racing Championship 2019(ARRC) faced a tough Sunday at Chang circuit.
With 30 riders from20 teams battling for AP 250 championship in the finale race, FIM 5 position penaltyon exceeding track limits in turn 12 of final 10th lap race turnedthe fortune of 5 riders. Despite being the first to cross the chequered flag,Md. Muzakkir was pushed back to 6th position. Astra’s Honda LuckyHendiransya’s 7th finish in race was amended to 12th.Similarly, Senthil and Rajiv too lost 5 positions from their 11thand 13th race finish to 16th and 18th positionsin final results, leading to no points for Honda’s solo Indian team despite a doubletop 15 finish.
Starting 16th,Rajiv’s good start took him to 10th spot ending lap 1. Lap 3 erased hisgains, pulling him back to 16th. Thereon, Rajiv made a fantasticrecovery to 15th by lap 4, 13th by lap 5 and climbed up to11th position by lap 6 when Top 12 riders were fighting in a 1.8 second gap. Bylap 8, Rajiv overtook 2 riders to enter into top 10. A wide cornering in turn12 of final 10th lap saw Rajiv finish 13th in race 2today, only to bear the brunt of 5 positions penalty which put him 18thon the official race2 result.
Still learning theropes of international racing in his debut ARRC season, 18-year-old Senthil continuedhis assault on time sheets to record his personal best lap record of 1:54:323at Chang ciruit today. Today, Senthil showed true challenging spirit, climbing11 positions from his distant 8th row start of 22ndposition to finish 11th – the best ever finish of Honda’s rookierider. But the 5 position penalty pushed him back to 16th in theamended results.
While 4 ridersincluding championship contender Irfan Ardiansyah crashed out during theaggressive race, local favourite Mukada Sarapuech and Vietnam’s Cao Viet Nam toodropped due to technical problems. Post the positions flux after penalty, A.P HondaRacing Thailand’s rider Piyawat Patoomyos was the winner, followed by VorapongMalahuan (2nd) and Awhin Sanjaya (3rd). After theclimactic race 2 finish today, it’s a clean podium sweep for Indonesians in the2019 AP 250 championship. While Andy Fadly won 2019 AP 250 title with 214points, Astra Honda Racing team’s duo of Awhin Sanjaya closed 2nd (188points) and Irfan Ardiansyah 3rd (187 points).
Sharing overview ofthe Honda’s solo Indian team’s debut season at ARRC, Mr. Prabhu Nagaraj, Vice President – Brand and Communications, HondaMotorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd.,“Today was the story of Indian challengers of Honda. For the youngest Indianrider at ARRC, Senthil did his best ever finish at 11th, broke the1.55 second lap time barrier and gained as many as 11 positions in the AP 250race for the first time. Rajiv too has grown immensely and our 2019 performancehas made others take us as serious competition now. Surely, today the penaltywas a downer but it is an opportunity for our riders to better their craft evenfurther. As a company driven on realizing the Power of Dreams, Honda racingIndia’s dream is to create an iconic Indian rider for the world. Working onthis dream, we will start the 2020 season testing tomorrow itself.”
Quote from IDEMITSUHonda Racing India rider Rajiv Sethu
“I put up a very good fight in Race 2. While I wasreally excited by my 13th finish, the 5 position penalty was crushingfor me. But at the end of the day, I had taken a wide corner and had to bearthe brunt of it. Overall, 2019 was for sure a great season. I am now confidentthat I can fight in the front. The next season will require a lot of hard workbut I am ready for it. I am thankful to my sponsors CWI and IDEMITSU and mostimportantly my team IDEMITSU Honda Racing India. Now, its time to prepare for2020.”
Quote from IDEMITSUHonda Racing India rider Senthil Kumar
“Today, I recorded my personal best lap time in themorning warm up (1:55:688) which gave me more confidence before the race.Despite a bad start in the afternoon race, I gained 11 positions over my 22ndstart to finish 11th – which was my best ever finish till date. Butthe FIM penalty for exceeding track limit, cost me 5 positions to 16th. Despitethis, today has 2 positives for me. For the first time my gap with lead riderwas just 1.693 seconds and I also bettered my personal best lap time to 1.54seconds (1:54:323).”
2019’s been acracker of a season for India’s solo team - ‘IDEMITSU Honda Racing India team.With Rajiv’s and Senthil’s consistent improvement, Indian motorsport is comingof age. IDEMITSU Honda Racing India has ended 2019 ARRC season of AP 250 classin Top 9 with 35 points. With 2 Top-10 & 9 Top 15 finishes; Rajiv closes2019 at 17th. This marks a solid 10 rank jump over his 27th rank in2018 AP 250 championship. For the rookie rider Senthil Kumar who is stilllearning the ropes, his 30th rank out of 44 riders will seeimprovement ahead.
Parallelly, ZaqhwanZaidi of Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA team in ASB1000cc class finished 2nd in today’s race 2. This puts the team 4thand Zaghwan 3rd in the overall ASB 1000 championship.
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