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Asia Road Racing Championship

Information on Yamaha riders, machines and more in the Asia Road Racing Championship

Rd.06 December 4 Thailand

RACE DATA

■Race: 2016 Asia Road Racing Championship Rd. 06
■Category: SS600/AP250
■Location: Chang International Circuit, Thailand

Race 1
SS600 Class
■Date: December 3, 2016
■Race Condition: Dry
■Laps:18
■PP: Chalermpol Polamai(1'38.547/Yamaha)
■FL: Ahmad Yudhistira(1'39.567/Kawasaki)
AP250 Class
■Laps:10
■PP: Apiwat Wongthananon (1'55.203/Yamaha)
■FL: Kasma Daniel Kasmayudin (1'56.343/Yamaha)

Race 2
■Date: December 4, 2016
■Race Condition:Dry
SS600 Class
■Laps: 18
■PP: Chalermpol Polamai(1'38.547/Yamaha)
■FL: Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman(1'39.158/Kawasaki)
AP250 Class
■Laps: 10
■PP: Apiwat Wongthananon (1'55.203/Yamaha)
■FL: Apiwat Wongthananon (1'55.419/Yamaha)

REPORT

SS600: Yamaha Riders Sweep Podium in Race 1 and Race 2!
AP250: YZF-R25 Riders Win Both Races and Take 5 Podiums for Season

Yamaha riders dominated the final round of the 2016 season. The three riders of the local Yamaha Thailand Racing Team swept the podium in Race 1 of the SuperSports 600 (SS600) class. It was an all-out Yamaha victory again in Race 2 as once again the top three spots were secured by Yamaha riders. Since the beginning of the season the teams have worked to perfect their machines and the riders themselves have grown to the point that they can challenge at the front of races.
Also the AP250 class, which marked the second season since its introduction, saw Apiwat Wongthananon (#24) of the Yamaha Thailand Racing Team lock up a long-awaited title in the class before the final round. But even so he was determined to go for wins right up until the end of the season. Yamaha teams have taken five podiums in total as they have illustrated the progress made this season after experiencing difficulties last year.

Race 1 (SS600)

The Yamaha YZF-R6 put on a strong display at the Buriram Circuit.
In qualifying the previous day, the Yamaha Thailand Racing Team's wildcard Chalermpol Polamai (#65) had taken pole position with Decha Kraisart (#24) behind him in 2nd, so the potential for a strong race was already there. That potential became reality in Race 1.
The opening laps saw Polamai and Kraisart form a one-two at the front with a narrow gap between the two. They began to build up a lead by setting fractionally faster laps than the trailing riders as the gap increased. Kraisart came through to take 1st on the third lap, but was quickly caught and retaken by Polamai, kicking off a battle in which the narrow gap between the two continued.
Meanwhile behind them Anucha Narkcharoensri (#14) was aided by a rider in front crashing which allowed him to slot into 3rd. His lap times were quicker than the leading duo, allowing him to gain ground and putting him into contention for the lead. Of the three, Kraisart's riding stood out. He led perfectly without showing any hint of an opening, preventing the trailing two from mounting any kind of attack. This was enough to keep them at bay as Kraisart hung on to take the checkered flag and his second win of the season. He was followed across the line by Polamai then Narkcharoensri to make it a clean sweep of the podium for the Yamaha Thailand Racing team at their home circuit of Buriram in Thailand. In doing so they excited the many spectators in attendance and clearly demonstrated the potential of the YZF-R6.
The Yamaha Racing Team's Yuki Ito (#76) made a slow start and spent his race recovering from 14th position. However he did set his personal best time of the weekend and at one point was running as high as 7th as he battled his rivals and reeled off laps. But in the second half of the race his average time began to slow, dropping him back to 10th where he finished. His teammate Md Fitri Ashraff Razali (#12) was 20th after the start, but pushed to make up positions and eventually found himself in 16th before dropping one position to finish in 17th.

Race 2 (SS600)

Race 2 began in earnest a day after the podium dominance of Race 1. Once again it would be a race in which YZF-R6 mounted riders dominated the field. The Yamaha Thailand Racing Team's Decha Kraisart (#24) and Chalermpol Polamai (#65) both made rocket starts just as they had in the first race to bring them quickly to the front. After the first lap it was Kraisart in the lead with Chalermpol following close behind. In the opening stages Kawasaki's Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman (#25) caught the pair and stayed with them for several laps, but his challenge only lasted for the opening few laps. The blistering pace of the front runners eventually left him behind.
In the battle for the lead, Kraisart gave no ground to Chalermpol, as the race became a stalemate just as it was in Race 1 with the two running a very similar pace until the very end, when a slight gap opened up between them. But once again Kraisart held on to take the win--his third of the season--while Chalempol took another 2nd place podium finish. The two reveled in a home victory in front of the local fans.
Contesting 3rd were Kamaruzaman and former MotoGP rider Anthony Keith West (#13) of the Akeno Speed WJR Racing team. West, who was in excellent shape following his double victory at the previous round in India, set fast lap times that caught him up to Kamaruzaman, before engaging in a brief battle before quickly taking the advantage and opening a gap to maintain 3rd, which he was able to hold onto until the checkered flag. With this result, YZF-R6 mounted Yamaha riders took every podium position available from both races.
The Yamaha Racing Team's Ito was again 14th after the first lap but made his way up to 11th by lap 2. A mistake on lap 3 led to a crash, taking him out of contention. The team's second rider Razali started from 19th and improved two positions to finish the race in 17th.

Race 1 (AP250)

Over the course of five rounds and ten races, Apiwat Wongthananon (#24) of the Yamaha Thailand Racing Team has taken eight wins and the championship title. In that time he has had to work hard to master the YZF-R25 while contesting intense battles with rival manufacturers in each race. At this round too, the dice for the top group consisted of 10 machines. Apiwat was aiming for only one position though; 1st place.
The race was a close fight right from the start, with 10 to 12 machines forming the lead group. There were six riders from the YAMAHA|VR46 Riders Academy--a program designed to help young Asian riders step up to the world stage--joining the fray, all trying to show the results of their hard work.
The lead changed in seemingly every corner of the race, with a wide variety of riders taking over the top spot at some point. Of the YZF-R25 riders, Wongthananon, Galang Hendra Pratama (#99) of Yamaha Racing Indonesia, Kasma Daniel Kasmayudin (#127) of Yamaha Finson Racing and Yusuke Nakamura (#33) of the Akeno Speed WJR Racing Team all led the race.
As has been the case with many AP250 races this season, the finishing order was not clear until the final corner of the final lap. Observers waited with baited breath, but just before the final corner there was a major accident. Wongthananon fell mid-corner, catching the likes of Kasmayudin and several others out, while even more machines directly behind crashed trying to avoid the pileup. Pratama also lost positions as a result, completely shaking up the lead positions. The result was that the trailing riders suddenly found themselves in the lead. The Yamaha Thailand Racing Team's Anupab Sarmoon (#500) finished 1st, with Peerapong Loiboonpeng (#14) finishing 2nd and Nakamura taking 3rd.
In the end, the result was an all-Yamaha podium sweep just as it had been in the SS600 race. The Yamaha Thailand Racing Team made a strong showing in taking their 5th podium finish of the season.

Race 2 (AP250)

After taking zero points thanks to Race 1's chaotic ending, Apiwat Wongthananon (#24) was determined to run a race worthy of a champion in Race 2.
He learned from Race 1 and altered his strategy for Race 2. He got the holeshot from the start and upped his pace early, so as to avoid any opening lap fisticuffs. However, Kawasaki's Takehiro Yamamoto (#1) was able to match his pace and slotted in close behind him. It all went according to plan, as Wongthananon escaped and began to control the race from the front.
In the middle stages Yamamoto came through to take the lead, but Wongthananon stayed close while looking for an opening to make his move. The two entered the final lap in this formation. Wongthananon's speed in the second half of the circuit allowed him to gain an advantage and make a pass, after which he stepped it up a gear and was able to open up a gap. That gap was wide enough to prevent any attempt at an overtake in the final corner, allowing Wongthananon to take the checkers with ease. He got revenge for the previous day's race, while finishing out his season with a ninth win.
While this was going on, the battle for third went down to the wire, leaving little indication of who would be standing on the podium at the finish. There were a number of YZF-R25 mounted riders in the mix as 3rd position changed on every lap and in seemingly every corner. The race would only be decided on the final corner of the final lap as five Yamaha riders vied for the final step of the podium. In the end Imanuel Putra Pratna (#96) of the Yamaha Traxx-D TJM Bien Racing team came out on top to finish in 3rd. Of the six podium positions available in the two AP250 races, Yamaha took five. Looking at the final season points standings, Wongthanon tops the list as Champion and is followed by six YZF-R25 riders in the top eight.
As is clear from this result, the teams, mechanics and machines have made marked improvements since last season. But above all the result reflects the hard work that has been accomplished in moving up from local racing classes to a heavily contested field in the ARRC, in which valuable learning experience was gained through competition with rivals and for a few riders through experiences at the YAMAHA|VR46 Riders Academy. The result clearly illustrates that the riders have made major steps both physically and mentally through the course of the season.

SS600 RESULT Race.1

SS600 RESULT Race.2

SS600 RIDERS RANKING

AP250 RESULT Race.1

AP250 RESULT Race.2

AP250 RIDERS RANKING

COMMENT

SS600
Yamaha Racing Team
#76 Yuki Ito (10th/DNF)

"Yet again I didn't start the weekend in a good position. But in each session we were able to improve the machine, and were looking to be in the best shape we've been in so far this season. In Race 1 my pace dropped off and I was in 10th which was mostly down to my mistake at the start. I set some personal best laps and was able to push at a pace that I think was good. I had a really good feeling heading into Race 2 so I had a lot of confidence, but I crashed and couldn't finish the race. I couldn't build on the positive work through the weekend and cap it off with a good result. This season our team was completely new, so we had to start from scratch and had a tough time at first. Though we've stood on the podium it isn't a season we can be totally satisfied with. Even so, our team has worked hard together and grown as a result which I think was a good experience in itself, and I feel lucky to be surrounded by such great support from my team. My plans for next year aren't decided yet, but if I can ride with this team again I'd like to finish the season as Champion."

#12 Md Fitri Ashraff Razali (17th/17th)

"This time I was able to take points from both races, but I'm still not satisfied with my results. I got a slow start in Race 1. I couldn't up my pace and try to gain ground, so it was tough. I also made a mistake on the last lap and lost positions which I really regret. Then today I crashed in the warmup before Race 2. I hit my head in the crash, so I wasn't able to fight at full fitness in the race but I was able to pick up points. Looking at the season overall, it was a new team and a new machine and we had a lot of crashes and on-track mayhem to deal with. Through all that the team supported me with their best effort which was the main reason I could fight through until the end. I'm really grateful to the fans who cheered me on and to the team and staff. Thank you very much."

Michael Chai, Team Manager, Motorsports Development

"This was the final round, so we were aiming for our best finishes yet. But as you can see from the results neither of our riders were quite able to achieve that. I'm really disappointed that we weren't able to live up to the expectations of all the fans cheering us on. We've had a hard time this season and have tried many things and gained valuable experience through that. And that is why I believe we can use this season's experience to make a big step for next season. Finally, I would like to say thank you for all the support we have received."

Yamaha Thailand Racing Team
#24 Decha Kraisart (1st/1st)

"Race 1 was perfect. Once I passed Chalermpol I could run a calm race at the front. Part of that was because when I glanced back I saw that 3rd place was also a fellow teammate. It was thanks to my team that my machine was in excellent shape and my physical condition was great as well, both of which gave me a lot of confidence. My machine actually felt even better in the warmup before Race 2, so I had even more confidence going in the second time. In reality my competitors didn't have the pace to stick with me, but really I think the result is more down to the excellent progress we've made with the machine. At the start of the season we had a really difficult time. Since then it has taken a long time, but the machine has gradually improved and in the second half of the season I was able to take podiums and on days like today, wins. For next year I feel like both myself and the machine can get even better, so my only real goal is to be Champion."

Theerapong Opaskornkul, Senior General Manager of Sales & Marketing Support

"Both Decha and Chalermpol have made great use of their experience in the All Japan championship and brought us fantastic results. Anucha also managed to take 3rd with a machine setup that was less than perfect and contribute to a podium sweep for us which I'm really happy about. This was our home race, and I wanted to show all the fans in attendance how much the Yamaha Thailand Racing Team has grown. I'm really glad to say that we were able to do that this weekend. Our results were thanks to the accumulation of experience of all of our team members. I think it's down to the strong team work we've built up this season. Moving forward I don't want us to forget our 'Never give up' spirit as we work hard to win the championship next year. Thank you so much for a year of fantastic support."

AP250
Yamaha Thailand Racing Team
#24 Apiwat Wongthananon (23rd/1st)

"First of all Race 2, I'm very happy that I was able to take the result I was aiming for with a win. The reason I'm very happy is that yesterday my own mistake kept me from doing that, which I really regret. This season the biggest thing that contributed to me taking the championship was joining Yamaha. And more than that, the support I've received from the Yamaha Thailand Racing Team has spurred me on to improve myself. That's why I was able to have a really enjoyable season and win the championsip. Also, this year I was able to participate in the YAMAHA|VR46 Riders Academy project. Everything we experienced there was designed to improve us as riders. Not only there at the camp, but once we returned as well, we could put the things we learned into practice. I think that really helped me grow as a rider and played a major part in me taking the championship this season."

Theerapong Opaskornkul, Senior General Manager of Sales & Marketing Support

"Apiwat took pole position in qualifying, but our other riders were not in as great a position so we were a bit nervous heading into the races. Apiwat's crash in Race 1 was disappointing, but I think the result we achieved in Race 2 was fantastic and impressive and showed our fans how much we've grown as a team. And I think we've accomplished it all thanks to our strong team spirit that is in line with our motto of 'Never give up'."

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