Asia Road Racing Championship
Launched in 1996, this series is the pinnacle of motorcycle road racing in Asia. It is comprised of: the premier SuperSports 600 (SS600) class, the Asia Production 250 (AP250) class run with 250cc sport bikes, the Underbone 150 (UB150) class and other jointly-held one-make championships. This noteworthy series serves to nurture young riders' careers and provide the environment for them to work their way up to world-level competition. In this way, the ARRC has become an essential championship for building the future of Asian motorsports culture.
The SS600 class in particular features Asia's top riding talent, and has produced several riders that have gone on to compete in the All Japan Road Race Championship and various other world championships. In recent years, the participation of veteran Japanese riders and increased manufacturer support has led to a rapid rise in rider skill. The AP250 class was established in 2015 from the increasing spread and popularity of low-displacement sport bikes, and the riders are generally younger than those in the SS600 class. The AP250 class is in place as a gateway for riders to set their sights on both the SS600 class and on other world-level competition.
The season takes place on internationally certified race circuits primarily in Asia, with six events scheduled in total. In every class, each round is comprised of two races, with the championship being decided by the results across all 12 races. All the race machines are based on production models and modified for racing in line with the ARRC's technical regulations.
Yamaha began creating a tiered step-up program in 2015 to discover and develop riders from Asia and help them progress upward. As one step along that path, the AP250 class was created as an environment to help young riders make the switch from underbones to motorcycles and begin their challenge towards the world stage of racing. In 2016, the Yamaha Racing Team was established as Yamaha's top team in the SS600 class to act as the next level for AP250 riders to aim for.
For the 2018 season, Yamaha Racing Team ASEAN will contest the SuperSports 600 class with Yuki Ito, who was in the running for the championship title last season until the final round, after which he finished 4th overall. This will be his third season with the team. He is joined by Thai rider Keminth Kubo, who finished 17th overall last year in his debut season with the team and is a member of Yamaha Thailand Team Norick, founded by former GP racer Norifumi "Norick" Abe. Kubo has a local Japanese racing series title to his name and Suzuka 4 Hours experience. Aboard the new YZF-R6 updated in 2017, Ito will be out to secure a long sought-after championship win, while Kubo will look to build on his results from last season.
In the AP250 class, local teams supported by Yamaha will be behind the young riders on the YZF-R25 racing for the championship win and aiming to make the step up to world-level competition.
The YZF-R6 is a middleweight supersport model that made its world debut in 1998 at the Intermot show in Germany, and then went on sale in Europe and North America. After several model revamps over the years, the 2017 model incorporated technology from the YZF-R1 flagship superbike and was released as the newest iteration. Like the R1, it boasts excellent potential as a base machine for racing and is widely used in competition, from national series to the world championships. The R6 has claimed numerous race victories, including winning the World Supersport Championship for the fifth time last season, proving its performance in the pinnacle series for production middleweight supersport motorcycles.
The YZF-R25 debuted in 2014 as a model for sale around the globe, from emerging markets in Asia to fully developed markets. Under the concept of "a superbike you can ride every day," it features a powerful engine in a lightweight chassis that is a hallmark of Yamaha's R-Series of motorcycles, giving it outstanding performance. In the ARRC, production YZF-R6s and YZF-R25s are modified in accordance with each class' technical regulations to boost their competitiveness on the racetrack.