Rajiv Qualifies intop 12, Senthil at 18th
· Both riders shave offprecious seconds off their lap times and climb ranks
· Rajiv records his best everqualifier result at 12th spot & aims for top 10 in tomorrow’srace
· Senthil aims in break intothe top 15
Bend Motorsport Park, Adelaide, 26 April2019:After delivering best ever performance in round 1 of FIM Asia Road RacingChampionship 2019 (ARRC) in Sepang; IDEMITSUHonda Racing India team’s riders pushed hard in today’s Asia Production 250Qualifying at the Bend Motorsport Park near Adelaide today.
The 4.95 kmlong Bend track with its technical corners and fast-flowing sections proved toa tougher adversary today after early morning showers. But the Indian duo continued to climb ranks in the afternoon AP250 Qualifier.
Rajiv pushed hard to close the AP 250qualifier in Top 12 with best lap time of 2:11:738. This was asignificant improvement for Rajiv over from his best practice lap time of2:12:130. Shaving off seconds in each track outing, Rajiv has already reducedhis gap with lead rider Andy to 3.1 seconds.
Meanwhile,learning continued for 18-year-old rookie Senthil Kumar who gained his firstever wet race experience in the morning third practice. In his first Bendouting, Senthil closed in top 18 with best lap time of 2:13:876. Pushing harder,Senthil’s gap with the lead rider has now reduced to 5.250 seconds compared tohis best practice lap time gap of 8.412 seconds.
Tomorrow’srace 1 will see reigning AP 250 champion Andy Muhammad Fadly from Indonesia whostopped the clock with best lap time of 2:08:626 lead the grid, followed byJapanese rider Aiki Iyoshi at 2nd and the wonder woman Muklada Sarapuechfrom Honda Racing Thailand at 3rd spot.
Sharing anoverview on today’s qualifier, Mr.Prabhu Nagaraj, Vice President – Brand and Communications, Honda Motorcycle& Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. said, “Themorning rains gave us some tense moments but the Indian team emerged strongerthan before. Rajiv riding is evolving every time he goes on track. Rajivqualified 12th on the grid, which is his best ever qualifyingposition. This can give him the push to finish in the top 10 for the firsttime. For Senthil, Australia is a complete new ballgame. He faced the wet racefor the first time today but he’s showing significant improvement. If the teamand Senthil play it right, we just might earn points yet again in tomorrow’srace 1.”
Satisfiedwith his performance today and charged up for tomorrow, Honda’s third timerARRC rider Rajiv Sethu said, “Bend is a complicated track. The manyelevations coupled with strong winds make it unpredictable for riders. Last year,I could do only 5 laps as I suffered a crash in practice 3. This time, I hadmore laps on track and improved to qualify in 12th position – whichis my best ever qualifying result. Tomorrow, my mantra will be to stay calm,understand the race in initial laps, then plan and push ahead. My goal is tobreak into the Top 10 for the first time in the 9 lap race tomorrow.”
Meanwhile,the 18-year-old rookie rider SenthilKumar is working hard to grab points for India in this tough weekend and said,“Today’s FP3 was my first wet race.Riding with a bunch of riders, I could improve my riding line and entry speed. Ialmost crashed in lap 5 but made fast recovery. Overall, my gap with lead riderhas reduced and I finished 18th. Tomorrow, I plan to stay with thebunch in the first few laps and then set a pace and challenge myself to finishin Top 15th.”
IDEMITSU Honda RacingIndia @ AP 250 class of FIM Asia Road Racing Championship 2019
AP 250, Rd. 2 Qualifier:
ARRC - AP 250 class
(Ranking / points)
Lap Time: 2:11:738
2019 - 14th (Round 1 ending)
2018 – 27th
2017 - 46th ( ARRC debut)
2019 – 7th (Rd. 1 ending)
2018 – 15th *
* Debut year as solo Indian team
Lap Time: 2:13:876
2019 – 17th (ARRC debut)
About 2019 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship:
FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) isAsia’s most competitive motorcycle road racing championship in its 24thyear. The 2019 season has 7 rounds across 5 countries (Malaysia* 2, Australia,Thailand * 2, Japan & South Korea). After the Malaysian first round in theSepang circuit, the battle for 2019 championship will take place this weekend (25-28 April) at the Bend Motorsport Park in Australia.
In 2019 ARRC features four classes - thenewly introduced premier class of Asia Superbike 1000 (ASB1000), SuperSports600 (SS600), Asia Production 250 (AP250) and Underbone class (UB150).
Representing the solo Indian team at theevent - IDEMITSU Honda Racing India are two riders – Rajiv Sethu and the rookieSenthil Kumar who fight on the CBR250RR.
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