■Race: 2018 Asia Road Racing Championship Rd. 04
■Location: Madras Motor Race Track (3.717km)
■Date: August 04, 2018
■Race Condition: Dry
■PP: #13 Anthony West(1'40.585/Yamaha)
■FL: #76 Yuki Ito (1'41.057/Yamaha)
■PP: #123 Rheza Danica Ahrens (1'47.952/Honda)
■FL: #123 Rheza Danica Ahrens (1'48.148/Honda)
■Date: August 05, 2018
■Race Condition: Dry
■PP: #13 Anthony West(1'40.585/Yamaha)
■FL: #13 Anthony West(1'41.150/Yamaha)
■PP: #123 Rheza Danica Ahrens (1'47.952/Honda)
■FL: #123 Rheza Danica Ahrens (1'48.404/Honda)
SS600: 8th/DNF for Ito As West Does the Double
The Asia Road Racing Championship was back in action after a nearly two-month interval since the Round 3 in Japan. This weekend in India, the Madras Motor Race Track played host for Round 4. Last year's victor here, the Yamaha Racing Team ASEAN's Yuki Ito (#76) qualified on the third row of the grid on his YZF-R6 in 9th, but he and the team had made steady progress from the first day of the weekend, with his average times showing he had the pace to fight at the front as he headed into Race 1.
When the bikes were finally lined up on the grid and awaiting the start, a sudden rain shower threw things into confusion for a few moments, but the race got underway nonetheless. Ito's plan was to take advantage of the slower pace due to the rain to quickly make up positions at the start, but the plan ended in misfortune. Just as he changed his line to try for a pass, he lost traction and the bike began to slide. He managed to save it and avoid crashing, but he had to run off the track and was forced to re-join in 23rd, dead last.
But from this point, the setup Ito had been working on over the course of the weekend aided him. He started his recovery by not only marking the fastest lap of the race, but also consistently setting laps faster than the leaders. Passing rider after rider, he made it as far as the head of the second group from the front by the end of the race, finish in 8th.
However, his teammate Keminth Kubo (#64) had been feeling sick from the first day of the race week, even skipping the third free practice session. He started the race further down the grid in 12th, qualifying mid-pack partly due to his condition. He faced further bad luck as machines in front of him crashed shortly after the start, blocking his line and forcing him down to around 15th. When his teammate Ito came past him, he managed to latch onto the back and the two made up positions together. Kubo made it up to 9th, but unfortunately, he crashed with just three laps remaining and had to retire from the race.
Other R6 riders had differing results. Anthony West (#13) was battling in the lead group for the majority of the race before making a big push for the lead in the closing laps and held firm to win the race. Hong Leong Yamaha Malaysia's Kasma Daniel Kasmayudin (#127) also showed his speed to reach the lead group and finished 7th at the checkers.
As Ito started from the third row of the grid in 9th, a strong start would be crucial to make his way to the front. That start did not work out as planned however as Ito entered the first corner in 10th and was only 9th by the end of the first lap.
But once again Ito was setting a pace faster than the leaders, which saw him pass rivals until he was in 6th, just behind Kawasaki's Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman (#25). A few laps later he found his way past him to take over 5th, and from there set his sights on the three riders in front of him who formed the group vying for 2nd. Lap by lap he brought the gap down until he was able to take the fight to them.
He quickly made the pass for 4th but was unable to hold the position and dropped back to 5th once again where as group in front of him began to stretch away. Ito did not give up however, as he closed the gap and re-took 4th just before the final lap. Ito put everything on the line to try for a podium, but there was an accident in the final corner. As Ito battled with his rivals he unfortunately suffered a fall. His bike was in no condition to continue, but with the hope of picking up any available points he pushed it across the line in a dramatic scene that saw him take 16th, barely missing out on the points.
The first lap for Kubo saw him lose positions from where he started in 14th. He made it as high as 10th, but his pace was not quick enough to catch the group in front resulting in him finishing his race in 10th. Fellow R6 rider Anthony West took the lead in the middle stages and went unchallenged to the finish line to seal a perfect double win, while Kasmayudin was the second highest finishing Yamaha in 6th.
AP250: Reynaldo Gets First Podium in Race 1 and Two Yamahas Podium in Race 2
In the opening stages, the Yamaha Thailand Racing Team's Anupab Sarmoon (#500), who had been in excellent form throughout the free practices and qualifying, along with the ONEXOX TKKR Racing Team's Reynaldo Chrisantho Ratukore (#222), made strong starts and quickly got involved with the battle for the lead. However, Sarmoon ran into a machine issue that prematurely ended his race.
But Rakutore continued to feature in the leading group. In what became a race of attrition, Rakutore held on until the middle stages where he was able to break away from the two nearest rivals and open a gap that placed him in contention for the podium. As the race approached its end, the two machines in front of him stayed out of reach and he remained in 3rd, finishing the race there and taking his first-ever podium in the ARRC.
The second group from the lead saw R25 riders vying for strong results in a fight for positions that went down to the final corner of the last lap. The Yamaha Yamalube KYT TJM WR Super Battery team's Rafid Topan Sucipto (#250) took 4th place, and every finisher from 7th to 12th was aboard an R25.
YZF-R25-mounted riders put on a strong showing.
Anupab Sarmoon (#500) took the lead shortly after the start, as Race 1 podium finisher Rakutore (#222), Sucipto (#250) and Peerapong Boonlert (#45) formed the lead group with Honda's Race 1 winner Rheza Danica Ahrens (#123). Ahrens soon crashed out and Kawasaki's Andy Muhammad Fadly joined the group of five machines battling amongst each other as they pulled away from the riders behind.
Of those five, Sarmoon, Sucipto and Fadly controlled the podium positions. They swapped their order throughout the race, but nearing the end the positions became clearer with Sucipto in the lead and Fadly behind him in 2nd.
All that was left was to complete the final lap. As Fadly went for a pass Sucipto reacted quickly, and as the two came down the straight before the final corner they bumped into each other as they jockeyed to be on the best line into the corner. However it was Sucipto who came out on top to win his first ever race while Fadly took 2nd and Sarmoon 3rd, to make it two R25 riders on the podium.
UB150: A Perfect Weekend for the ONEXOX TKKR Racing Team
The race start was business as usual in the UB150 class: a huge free-for-all. Yamaha Racing Indonesia's Wahyu Aji Trilaksana (#60) unluckily got caught up in a multi-machine crash that knocked him out of contention. By the middle of the race, the battle for the lead had narrowed down to 10 machines, but from that point on they began to spread out. The closing laps saw two Yamaha riders among four in line for a podium finish, with the ONEXOX TKKR Racing Team's Fazli Ahmad Fazli Sham (#46) and Team One For All's Peerapong Loiboonpeng. In the end Fazli Sham made a move to take the lead and held onto it to take the checkers in 1st. Fellow Yamaha rider Loiboonpeng finished 3rd to make it two Yamahas on the podium.
For the first five laps the top group was made up of nine bikes, which accounted for half the entire field. But that situation soon changed, as the top five broke away and two of those, Sham and Honda's Md Heimi Azman (#32) pulled even further away at the front, turning it into a two-way duel. Sham did not put a wheel wrong, giving Azman no openings in which to make an attack. That was enough to secure him the win and put his count up to two for the weekend, making it two double victories for Yamaha riders in SS600 and AP250.
The next event, round five of the season, will be held in Indonesia between October 12 and 14.
Yamaha Racing Team ASEAN
#76 Yuki Ito (SS600: 8th/16th)
"I won here last year, so I came into this weekend with a lot of confidence, but with things like the changing track surface conditions it was hard to find the best setup. That meant my race pace was good but we had a hard time in qualifying. It rained at the start of Race 1 which caused me to slide my rear tire and run off track, which meant I had to fight back from last place. But I had been working on my riding for this race, and that helped me up my average pace. I set the fastest lap and came back from 23rd to 8th, which wasn't the best position, but I was able to take positives away for Race 2. In Race 2 though, I got a bad start and was 9th after the first lap before fighting back to get into the second group. I made it to 4th before getting passed. That threw off my rhythm and I dropped off the group. I flipped a switch in my mind though and fought back and was able to make up more positions. But I crashed on the last lap and ended up with no points. I'm happy with how I was running before that though, so I want to get my revenge at the next round in Indonesia."
#64 Keminth Kubo (SS600: DNF/10th)
"At the beginning it rained which made the track condition very unstable, and a rider crashed in front of me which blocked my line through the corner, so it was a difficult start to the race. After that I tried to stick with my teammate Ito and that worked so I could make up some positions, but with three laps left I crashed out. In Race 2 my overall pace wasn't good. This weekend I haven't been feeling well, so I had to sit out Free Practice 3, which meant our understanding of the setup was not so good, which I think had an effect on both races. All I can do is try my hardest at the next round. I'll do everything I can to be on the podium there."
Team Manager Yuji Saiki
"Ito was able to gradually improve his average pace to a fairly solid point, but he couldn't set the kind of time he wanted to in qualifying and ended up on the third row. His pace was good so we were very positive about the race, but on the first lap there was a sudden shower and that combined with a free-for-all battle going on meant that when Ito changed his line and went for a pass he ran off track, and that dropped him all the way down the field. He did a good job to recover though, setting the fastest lap on his way to 8th. In Race 2 he didn't get the best start, but he was lapping faster than the riders in front of him so he caught up to the second group and had a great battle with his eye on the podium, but he fell in the final corner of the final lap. He wasn't able to get any points from the race, but the sight of him pushing his bike across the line will stay with the team and give them extra motivation at the next round.
Kubo on the other hand was feeling a bit tired, but he managed to get that under control before the start of Race 1. He got in behind Ito and was running a very good pace, but he crashed three laps from the finish. He felt a bit uneasy with the brakes in Race 2 so he couldn't up his pace as much as he heeded to, and he went on to finish 10th. Kubo took pole position here last year, so it's a course he goes well at. That we couldn't repeat that kind of performance is something the team needs to reflect on."
Yamaha Thailand Racing Team
#500 Anupab Sarmoon (AP250 Race 2: 3rd)
"I had a mechanical issue and had to pull in for Race 1, but in Race 2 I had a really tough battle for the lead. I'm really happy that I could come out of it with a podium finish. But to win the next round in Indonesia and the final round in my home of Thailand, I feel like there are still a lot of areas I need to improve. There's a gap of 40 points to the championship leader, but for now it's more important for me to pass the rider in 2nd overall. I won't give up until the final checkered flag waves."
Theerapong Opaskornkul, Senior General Manager of Sales & Marketing Support
"Anupab has been in a lot of races up to this point, and not only in ARRC. In every one he's been notching up very strong results. For example, last month he raced the Suzuka 4 Hours and won. And here at Round 4 he gave his best in Race 1 but was unlucky to have engine trouble and had to retire. But Race 2 the strong Anupab we all know was back. He was constantly a part of the battle for the lead and had several chances to take the win but he ended up in 3rd. I think he's continuing to build up his skill as a professional rider. He's ranked 3rd overall right now, but he still has a chance to win the championship this year. We'll come together and work as a team to bring that closer to happening at the next round in Indonesia."