■Race: 2018 Asia Road Racing Championship Rd. 05
■Location: Sentul International Circuit, Indonesia
■Date: October 13, 2018
■Race Condition: Dry
■PP: #27 Andi Farid Izdihar (1'30.020/Honda)
■FL: #27 Andi Farid Izdihar (1'30.490/Honda)
■PP: #16 Mario Suryo Aji (1'42.022/Honda)
■FL: #198 Awhin Sanjaya (1'42.608/Honda)
■Date: October 14, 2018
■Race Condition: Dry
■PP: #27 Andi Farid Izdihar (1'30.020/Honda)
■FL: #33 Ahmad Yudhistira (1'30.674/Kawasaki)
■PP: #16 Mario Suryo Aji (1'42.022/Honda)
■FL: #123 Rheza Danica Ahrens (1'42.350/Honda)
Wilairot Takes 3rd in Race 2 and Ito Forced to Withdraw Due to Injury
After a two-month break since the previous round in India, Round 5 of the Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) was held in Indonesia at the Sentul International Circuit this weekend. Yamaha Racing Team ASEAN riders Yuki Ito (#76) and Keminth Kubo (#64) started the event off on October 12 with three free practice sessions totaling 120 minutes of on-track time. With their focus set on the races, they gradually improved their lap times and looked to be in good shape. However, in Free Practice 3 Ito crashed and suffered an injury that forced him to miss both the qualifying session and the races.
In the qualifying session held on the morning of October 13, Kubo qualified a personal-best of 10th, which placed him on the fourth row of the grid for Race 1. After the opening two laps, however, he had dropped back to 13th and ended up crashing due to a technical issue on the following lap and was forced to retire.
Yamaha Thailand Racing Team rider Ratthapong Wilairot (#56) started the race lined up in 4th on the grid next to his teammate Decha Kraisart (#24), who had qualified in 5th. The two were running near the front and Wilairot soon got involved in a scrap for 3rd with Honda rider Md Zaqhwan Zaidi (#21). During the opening laps there was a sizable gap from Zaidi to Wilairot, but by the middle stages that gap had begun to shrink. On lap eight, Wilairot quickly closed the gap and came past on the next lap to take 3rd, and soon pulled away. A mistake later on allowed Zaidi back past and giving up another position towards the end of the race left Wilairot as the highest-finishing Yamaha in 5th. Kraisart held onto 6th in the early part of the race and had initially kept up with Wilairot, getting as high as 4th, but later on faded back to eventually finish 12th.
Hong Leong Yamaha Malaysia's Kasma Daniel Kasmayudin (#127) and Md Ramdan Rosli (#32) both unfortunately crashed out and were unable to finish the race.
Bad luck was waiting for Kubo on the final day of the race weekend, just as it had been for his teammate Ito. A crash in the morning warmup injured his left leg and left hand, and despite still being in considerable pain, he made the race start and managed to run in 10th position. He kept up a steady pace and climbed a position higher to 9th on lap eight. Fighting through the pain, he held onto 9th through the second half of the race, where he took the checkers to close out the Indonesia round.
Meanwhile, Yamaha's highest-placed rider was Wilairot once again. In Race 1 the previous day he had won a battle with Honda's Zaidi and gotten close to the podium, but mistakes later on left him in 5th at the checkers. Right after the start of Race 2, he managed to slot into 4th and found himself battling with Zaidi for 3rd yet again. Wilairot kept within one second of Zaidi as he piled on the pressure. Closing in with three laps remaining, he made the pass for 3rd. Then with only two laps to go, Wilairot faced a another close battle with Zaidi as he was unable to open a gap, but in the end he hung on to finish 3rd to take his second podium finish of the season; his first since the round in Australia.
Behind Wilairot, Kraisart was locked in a fight for 5th. He was clocking laps in 5th in the early stages, before falling back to 6th on lap seven. He held steady there for much of the race and was a position higher in 5th as he neared the finish, but was once again passed and relegated back to 6th, where he finished the race. Kasmayudin and Rosli traded positions several times throughout the race and finished in the points with 14th and 15th.
Home Favorite Sucipto Podiums with 3rd in Race 1 and Takes 4th in Race 2
The Sentul International Circuit is considered one of the rougher circuits on the ARRC calendar, and local Indonesian riders regularly show their strength there. Among the YZF-R25 riders, the Yamaha Racing Indonesia team's M. Faerozi (#901) led the timesheets in Free Practice 2, while Rafid Topan Sucipto (#250) of the Yamaha Yamalube KYT TJM WR Super Battery team, a race-winner from the previous round in India, was fastest in Free Practice 3, getting off to a strong start for the weekend. The Yamaha Thailand Racing Team's Anupab Sarmoon (#500) forced his way in among the Indonesian contingent at the front to put himself in 4th, making Yamaha's presence on the grid felt as he headed into the races.
In Race 1, the two riders at the front broke away but Sarmoon and Sucipto were battling for 3rd against Kawasaki's Andy Muhammad Fadly (#108). Sucipto rode hard in the opening laps and moved into 3rd, and with Fadly locked onto his tail, they slowly dropped their pursuers and made it a shootout between them. Sarmoon meanwhile lost touch with them and once the trailing riders caught up, which included Faerozi, they formed the third group from the lead for the rest of the race.
In the second half of the race, this third group gained ground on Sucipto and Fadly ahead and made it a five-way battle for the final podium spot. Sarmoon faded back to 7th in the end, but Sucipto and Faerozi fought to the flag. The finishing order would be decided at the final corner of the final lap. Sucipto came out on top to finish 3rd, while Faerozi took a personal-best finish of 6th.
Sucipto rose to the occasion once again. Around nine machines had formed a lead group just after the start, but as the race went on several dropped out until there were only five remaining. As yet another of them crashed and retired from the race, Sucipto stayed upright and had his eyes on a podium finish. To take it, he would have to face Kawasaki's Andy Muhammad Fadly, as the lead two riders had already moved out of reach. The Sucipto and Fadly put on a fierce display of riding as they diced and changed positions, seemingly on each lap. It would then all come down to the final corner and the home straight just after it to decide the 3rd place finisher. Sucipto narrowly missed the last podium spot in a photo finish of just 0.03 seconds.
The third group that had formed behind Sucipto battled for 5th position, with Sarmoon and Anggi Setiawan of the Yamaha Yamalube KYT TJM WR Super Battery team involved. However, 5th and 6th were taken by their rivals, leaving Sarmoon in 7th and Setiawan in 8th at the flag.
A Race Win and Two 3rd Place Podiums for Yamaha
There was trouble even before the start of the race. Yamaha Racing Indonesia star Wahyu Aji Trilaksana (#60) stalled his machine on the grid, forcing him to return to pit lane. After that he did get the engine started and joined the race, but he ended up having to retire. As the machines at the front in the early stages of the race gradually faded away, there were still around 10 bikes remaining in the lead group by the time the last lap came. The decider was the home straight, where Yamaha Yamalube SND Factory rider Gupita Kresna (#23) took 3rd to stand on the podium.
Race 2 turned out to be another signature UB150 free-for-all battle, but Yamaha riders were at the forefront in contention for the win. The UMA Racing Yamaha Maju Motor team's Md Haziq Md Fairies (#26) was dominant in the race, but faced an upward battle on the final lap as several riders came past him. But heading into the final corner, he retaliated by passing them back to take the lead as if it had been preordained, and kept them all at bay to take the race win. His teammate Md Akid Aziz (#13) joined him on the podium in 3rd.
Yamaha Racing Team ASEAN
#64 Keminth Kubo (SS600: DNF/9th)
"This weekend my goal was to finish in the top five, but in the free practices and qualifying I couldn't get the lap times I wanted. But I was still inside the top ten in qualifying, so I just had to focus and prepare as best I could for Race 1. On the third lap I had a bike issue and crashed. For Race 2 I felt like I made all the right preparations to reach my target, but I crashed in the warmup and hurt my left leg and hand. It really hurt during the first few laps, but soon I was so focused on racing that I didn't feel it. I can't be happy finishing in 9th, but I was relieved to get inside the top ten. The next round will be the last of the season and I'd like to finish the year on the podium."
Team Director Toru Koseki
"Kubo made it inside the top ten in qualifying and his times kept getting better over the weekend, so he looked to be in good shape for Race 1. But a machine issue led to his crash so this was a really unfortunate result. Then in the warmup for Race 2, he crashed again and was injured. Even so, he raced until the end and picked up points. It was a weekend with a lot of accidents, but I think Kubo rode well to close the round. We've narrowed down the cause of the issue with the bike and I think that, although it won't be for a while, we can go into the final round in a much better position. As for Ito, he crashed in the third free practice on the first day and also picked up an injury. He had to sit out the event and I know he was disappointed that he couldn't ride. We'll have him focus on healing up completely so he can show his true speed in the final round."
Yamaha Thailand Racing Team
#56 Ratthapong Wilairot (SS600 Race 2: 3rd)
"I was fast enough to be fighting for 3rd in Race 1, but I made a mistake and lost positions and that's why we got a disappointing result. But that's also why I really wanted to finish on the podium today in Race 2, so I'm really happy with this 3rd place. It's all thanks to the great support from everyone on the team and from Thai Yamaha Motor for giving me the opportunity to race. I'm 6th in the championship right now, but I feel like I can reach 5th and maybe even higher than that. The next round is my home round, so I'd love to be on the podium again and finish the season in the highest position possible."
Theerapong Opaskornkul, Senior General Manager of Sales & Marketing Support
"Ratthapong worked hard to prepare himself physically before this round, and he was able to maintain his focus through the weekend. However, he crashed on the first day in free practice and hurt his left shoulder, so he lined up for Race 1 with an injury, but was just as fast as the frontrunners and at times battled with Zaidi. He lost positions toward the end, but he finished well with 5th. He'd had some time to nurse his injury before Race 2 and he came to the track ready to race at the front. He fought with Zaidi for 3rd again and he came out on top this time with a fantastic podium in 3rd. We'll be at our home round in Buriram for the last round of the season. All of our riders will be working hard to prepare and to give the fans a race and results they can be proud of."