Parkes and Wongthananon Hit the Podium in 2nd and 3rd
Round 3 of the 2019 season was held at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand. Yamaha Racing Team ASEAN's Broc Parkes (#23) scored a 2nd place finish in Race 2 even as he was learning the circuit for the first time. The Yamaha Thailand Racing Team's Apiwat Wongthananon (#24) made his presence known with double 3rd place finishes in Race 1 and Race 2 while Yuki Ito (#76) finished 5th and 6th.
Race 1: Apiwat Takes Season First Podium, Parkes and Ito in 4th and 5th
Although it was the first race this season that the Yamaha Factory Racing Team missed out on the podium, Yamaha Racing Thailand were able to take full advantage of their home race. Apiwat Wongthananon (#24), who until today had not yet tasted the podium champagne, took his first podium finish of the season. He qualified in 2nd, and after a strong start came across the finish line in the lead after the first lap. He formed a leading group with BMW's Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman (#25), Honda's Md Zaqhwan Zaidi (#21).
Behind him were Yuki Ito (#76), Broc Parkes (#23) and Ratthapong Wilairot (#56) in 4th to 6th positions. As Ito gained speeed he started to close in on Zaidi. Parkes saw this and tried to go with Ito, as the two upped their pace and closed in to start a three-way battle as the race entered the final few laps.
On lap 10, Wongthananon overshot a corner as he was involved in the fight for the lead. That let Zaidi and Ito get in front of him, but on lap 11 it was Ito's turn to overshoot a corner which allowed Wongthananon through to 3rd. Behind them Parkes had been biding his time, but in a final spurt he caught and passed Ito for 4th.
Wongthananon, after retaking 3rd, was not prepared to settle. He mounted an attack on Zaidi in an attempt to take 2nd. He managed to get past on the brakes, but was overtaken again accelerating out of the corner, relegating him to 3rd. For the team and for Wongthananon himself it was the first podium of the season. Parkes and Ito did not change positions, eventually taking 4th and 5th. Wongthananon's teammate Wilairot finished 6th.
Race 2: Parkes in 2nd Followed by Another 3rd for Wongthananon
Broc Parkes showed how well the setup changes made after yesterday's Race 1 worked. After making a quick start and leading the race he secured a strong 2nd place finish as Wongthananon made the most of his home race with a repeat 3rd place finish.
After getting off the line well, Parkes was in 2nd before passing the winner of the Race 1, Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman (#25) to take the lead on lap 2. The two scrapped throughout the opening laps but Parkes held onto the lead.
Behind Parkes, a fierce battle for 2nd was going on between Kamaruzaman and Wongthananon, but it was Wongthananon who held onto 2nd going into the second half of the race. Following that there were a few changes for 2nd and 3rd, but the top three maintained a steady gap where none of three broke away or dropped back as the race entered the final laps. Then, as is often the case, the final corner was where the riders made their moves. First Wongthananon, who had been holding onto 2nd, fell back to 3rd and was dropped by the leading pair. Then it was a duel between Parkes and Kamaruzaman, and in the final corner Parkes left his inside slightly open, which Kamaruzaman took advantage of to make a pass. Kamaruzaman then held the advantage as they accelerated out of the corner leaving Parkes in 2nd.
After starting from 5th, Ito made up positions to finish his first lap in 3rd. He then tried to chase down the leaders along with Zaidi and held onto 4th until the middle of the race, but his battle had worn down his tyres which allowed Zaidi to pass him. Ito was relegated to 5th and soon lost sight of the lead group. By the end he lost another position to finally come across the line in 6th. Wilairot finished 8th.
Race 1: Boonlert Wins 5th in a Row
Yamaha Thailand Racing Team rider Peerapong Boonlert (#26), who was on a strong run of form after winning the opening four rounds, ran yet another perfect race in Race 1. After he got the holeshot for the lead, slotting in behind him was fellow YZF-R6 rider and strong rival Kasma Daniel Bin Kasmayudin of the Hong Leong Yamaha Malaysia team.
The two were locked in a duel for the first few laps. As they passed and re-passed each other, this allowed the trailing Honda riders Md. Ramdan Rosli (#23) and Andi Farid Izdihar (#27) to catch up and form a group of four at the front of the race.
Things calmed down in the middle of the race, as Boonlert and Kasmayudin opened a gap to the trailing riders and their race became a two way battle for the lead. They lapped with under a 1-second gap between them at first, but in the second half of the race Boonlert began to eke out an advantage. As that was happening, Kasmayudin overshot the final corner, which was the end of his contention for the win. Boonlert was then on his own, where he stayed until the chequered flag, taking his fifth win in succession at his home race. Kasmayudin, after making his mistake, dropped back into the clutches of the trailing group, eventually finishing 4th. His teammate Ahmad Afif Amran (#50) came across the line in 8th.
Race 2: Sixth Straight Win for Dominant Boonlert
Peerapong Boonlert stormed to a fantastic sixth win in a row with the cheers of his home crowd to spur him on, never letting his rivals get close enough to present a challenge.
Although Boonlert lost positions from the start, he quickly retook the lead. In the opening laps he led a group made up for four bikes, and in the first half of the race the likes of Adam Norrodin (#77) and Kasmayudin were able to stay near him, but in the latter half Kasmayudin dropped off the pace. That left only Norrodin to contend with, and although the second half of the race is normally punishing on both the body and tyres, Boonlert kept a constant pace in the '39s, as he gradually opened a gap of 1 second, then 1.5, then 2 seconds, and by the closing stages he was running on his own. He kept up his quick pace right to the finish to take his sixth win in succession.
Kasmayudin was running by himself in 3rd after the midpoint of the race, where he put in solid laps to hold his position and finish in 3rd. Norrodin finished 2nd once again, and just as in Race 1 it was another Yamaha podium lockout.
Race 1: Faerozi Top Yamaha in 6th
Yamaha Racing Indonesia's Muhammad Faerozi (#36) struggle throughout the race as the lone YZF-R25 rider going against his rivals. He made a solid start from 8th on the grid, to rise to 5th by the first corner. This got him a place with the leading group where he rose to 4th after the first lap.
Eight machines were locked together within 2 seconds of each other in the opening laps, but as two of the riders slipped back, the group grew longer and longer. Faerozi worked hard to keep the second group of seven bikes behind him, but by the middle stages he found himself unable to match their pace and he too dropped backward. He gave it all he had to hang onto the group, and in the final few laps started to gain some ground. On lap 8 he was in 6th position and had the rider in 3rd within sight.
Then came the final lap. After climbing to 3rd on the straight that forms the approach to the final corner, he held the position on corner entry but as he got on the brakes late, he ran slightly wide allowing his rivals to line up alongside him. He opened the throttle wide in hopes of coming out on top and finishing on the podium, but he just missed out as he took the chequered flag in 4th. However, it was his highest placed finish this season and he showed that he is steadily closing the gap to his rivals.
His teammate Anggi Setiawan (#96) finished 15th. The Yamaha Thailand Racing Team's Suttipat Patchaeetron (#86) finished 11th, with Sawapol Nillapong (#56) in 14th.
Race 2: Faerozi Stands on Podium for First Time
Faerozi was able to get away with the leading group and stay there before eventually notching up his first ever podium and the Yamaha Racing Team Indonesia's first of the season.
He went from 8th on the grid to the middle of the lead pack in 4th on lap 1, attacking right from the first corner. But his rivals were formidable. He lost positions on lap 3 until he was back in 6th, and fell even further than that, but he fought hard to not get dropped from the group, instead hanging onto the back and keeping a close eye on his rivals as the laps ticked off.
Then, the group at the front continued to scrap as the race went on and Faerozi continued to keep an eye on it. On the final lap he decided to make his move, getting up to 6th. Where he failed at the attempt in Race 1, Faerozi this time succeeded as he went up the inside without hesitation in the final corner. In a fine example of compact, fast corner entry and exit, he kept a firm grip on 3rd to finish the race. It was Faerozi's first ever and the team's first podium for the season. Patchaeetron finished 13th while Setiawan was 16th and Nillapong 18th.
Race 1: Wahyu Nugroho Finishes Personal Best 4th
Round 3 in Thailand was held in punishingly hot conditions, and it became an even more closely-contested battle than usual. Around 20 machines were covered by just two seconds in the leading group, and their positions seemingly changed with every corner of the circuit.
Amid this chaos it was Yamaha Racing Indonesia's Wahyu Nugroho (#89) who showed some strong riding. He had an issue in qualifying that caused him to start from 29th on the grid, but he had already recovered to 16th after the first lap. From there he gradually gained ground until he was near the front of the leading group where he held position.
Nugroho's teammate Aldi Satya Mahendra (#570), McKinley Kyle Paz (#123) of the Uma Racing Yamaha Philippines Team, who featured prominently in the first round, and Masato Fernando (#17) were all part of the huge leading group.
The results were decided in the final corner of the final lap. Nugroho pushed hard, but missed out on the podium by a single position in 4th. In the end, all three steps of the podium were occupied by Yamaha riders.
Race 2: Nugroho Makes Stunning Run from 29th to 3rd
Indonesian rider Wahyu Nugroho featured prominently in Race 2 in a repeat of Race 1. In a charge from 29th to 3rd, he brought the Yamaha Racing Indonesia team their first podium finish.
Race 2 was stopped shortly after the start due to an accident that brought out the red flag. This caused the re-started race to be reduced from eight laps to only six. It unfolded in a similar way to Race 1 with a large group forming at the front, and in it were four Yamaha Racing Indonesia team riders.
Nugroho was running in this lead group, but was in the middle of the pack. He knew that balancing offense and defense in the final corner would be no easy task. However Nugroho did not give up, instead remaining resolute and putting up a strong challenge. This resulted in making up several positions in the final corner and a 3rd place finish. Paz took 11th. Fernando was 20th and Mahendra came in 21st.
Yamaha Racing Team ASEAN
Broc Parkes (ASB1000: 4th)
"It was my first time to ride at this track. I thought it would be pretty easy, but to be honest it was tougher than I thought. Our bike wasn't so competitive until we got all the settings right. Step by step we improved our times until I could get close to the top three in qualifying. I did my best in the race, but I didn't have enough pace to compete with the front three and I finished 4th. There isn't one specific thing I can say was bad, just a combination of things that meant I didn't have the pace. We have an eye on the changes we need to make, so we'll do that and aim for better pace in tomorrow's warmup, so we can try for a podium in the race."
Yuki Ito (5th)
"This was the first time to bring the R1 to this circuit, which meant we didn't have any data to work from. At first we were 2 seconds off the leader, so we started the week seeing a major difference to the teams who tested here at the end of last year. From the start though, every time we went out on track we improved, keeping an eye on qualifying well for the races. We qualified in 5th, so I felt confident going into the race. Then just before the start the weather changed which gave me a slightly weird feeling with the settings. It was hard to adjust to that in the opening laps, but a changed my riding style a bit to accommodate. I got close to the leaders at one point but I didn't have the speed to compete with them. At one point I was fighting for 2nd when I got in too hot at one corner and dropped back. Thinking about the championship, 5th isn't terrible, but tomorrow I want to get a result higher on the podium than I have been this season."
Team Manager Yukihiko Kurata
"Parkes said the same thing, but it was a weekend where we struggled to find a setup as we didn't have the experience or data here. We didn't get the setup to a level we were satisfied with, but after that we slowly brought our times down. We missed out on the podium with a 4th in Race 1, but considering the circumstances it was a great performance. Our end goal is winning the championship, so all in all a 4th isn't so bad for us. For Ito the front riders getting away early made it a tough proposition, but he did well to change his mindset and keep pushing. That way he eventually got involved with the podium battle. He made a little mistake and ended up 5th, but altogether it was a good race I think. It was the first time to have R1 here, so we had all sorts of issues. However, I think it's clear that we we're making gradual progress. We'll make adjustments to the settings so we can give our best effort towards getting on the podium."
Yamaha Thailand Racing Team
Apiwat Wongthananon (ASB1000: 3rd)
"The weather changed right before the race. There was some rainfall that made it extremely difficult, so at first I focused on the start. I got away with the front guys, and while I was riding I kept checking the track conditions, and I could see that there wasn't that big an effect so I upped my pace and got to the front. After that I tried focus on managing the tires, but the tires were degrading really quickly, which is how I ran wide towards the end and lost positions. I wanted to get as many back as I could, so I braked really late into the final corner on the last lap, but it didn't work out so I finished 3rd. But it was still great to be on the podium and I think that has brought me up to the next level. We can still make a lot of little changes, so we'll try to make those and be on the top step tomorrow."
Peerapong Boonlert (SS600: 1st)
"I'm so happy to achieve my goal of winning five in a row. It didn't all go according to plan though, as at some points I lost positions after getting to the front. I tried to stay cool and think about the second half of the race, so I controlled my pace with that in mind. I fought with Kasma for the lead, and up until the race we had a very similar pace, so I was nervous about how that would go, but I went a bit faster in the middle stages while Kasma made a mistake, so after that I was on my own until the finish. I took my fifth win in a row, but tomorrow I want to run even faster lap times and keep a cooler head to try to make it six."
Theerapong Opaskornkul, Senior General Manager of Sales & Marketing Support
"Peerapong went to the VR46 Master Camp, did some riding in Japan, then came back to the AP250 class and raced in the Thai 600cc championship, so he has taken his time to get to the SS600 class in ARRC. That experience has taught him to manage his tires very well, which I think, along with confidence in his machine, has led to him taking race wins. As a team we want to keep winning, and our goal is breaking Yuki Takahashi's record of seven straight wins. To do that we'll be back tomorrow to try for win number six. In ASB1000, Apiwat took a podium finish. He also went to the VR46 Master Camp and brought that experience back with him. He really hates to lose, and he's really good at setting up the bike. That's why our machine development is going so well and our team itself is making progress. Tomorrow our whole team, including Ratthapong, are aiming for our first ASB1000 win."
YAMAHA RACING TEAM ASEAN
#23 Broc Parkes (ASB1000: 2nd)
"I lost a bit of traction in the last corner and that took me wide which let him through, so I couldn't get the win. Yesterday it rained before the start so the track surface was hard to push on. But today I pushed right from the start, which was also thanks to making some improvements with the bike setup. My lap times were really good, so I just wanted to keep pushing and I decided to use that strategy. In the end I couldn't get the win, but I didn't have any experience at this track before this weekend so I knew it would be hard for me. I'm really I could make it to the podium here. My aim for the next round at Suzuka is to win. Of course I want to win at every round, but Suzuka is the team's home race and it's a track I like so I'm even more fired up than usual. There will be a lot of fast riders at Suzuka but I'll try my best."
#76 Yuki Ito (ASB1000: 6th)
"I got into 3rd pretty quick after the start, and right around the time Broc went into 2nd that's when I dropped back to 4th. From there I was in 4th for most of the race while trying to get mixed into the battle for the lead. But just before the second half I didn't have the best grip since I'd been pushing to catch the leaders and had battled too much with the guys around me. At that point I was at risk of crashing and I knew I couldn't improve my position so I switched to trying to hang on to the position I had. It wasn't the position I wanted to finish in, but it didn't hurt me that badly in the championship, so I think I did the best I could for today. I'm planning to make up for it at Suzuka."
Team Manager Yukihiko Kurata
"Even though this was a totally new track for Parkes, he took what he learned in Race 1 and applied that for Race 2, and by doing that he put on an incredible performance to get 2nd. He's 2nd in the championship now, so the points he got today are really valuable. For the team, we just barely lost out on a win, so this race was a bit frustrating and it showed us that we need to come back with a machine that can fight for the win. Ito had issues with tyre management right from the warmup, so he couldn't get into the higher positions and I think he was quite unhappy with that. The next round is a home race for us. After three rounds now, I think we can see where we need to improve the bike. To win in the coming races we'll have to do that, and also think about how to best support our riders."
Yamaha Thailand Racing Team
#23 Apiwat Wongthananon (ASB1000: 3rd)
"After a mistake at the start I lost ground, but we made adjustments to the electronics after yesterday's race. Those didn't work out so well so it wasn't easy to push. I really wanted to catch the lead group after that, so I got onto the back of Broc and kept my cool to analyze the race. But on the last lap I got passed and ended up finishing 3rd. I'm happy to be on the podium again but it was a race that left me a bit disappointed. I won at Suzuka in the AP250 class, but I know riding the R1 there will be a totally different story. Both the bike setup and riding itself will be different, so I'll have to think hard and prepare as much as I can."
#26 Peerapong Boonlert (SS600: 1st)
"We changed the rear suspension settings a little after yesterday, and I think I could run the race just like I wanted to today. It was my plan to get to the front early and lead from there, and I was able to do that. Around halfway through I ended up on my own, and from there it was a battle against myself not to make any mistakes. I didn't let my times get out of the 39s and tried to keep a constant pace. My performance was thanks to understanding the tires well from riding them so much. This was my home race and the team put together an incredible package for me so I could go into the race full of confidence. I'm really thankful to them, and I think I'm one step closer to winning the championship now so that's great. Suzuka is like my second home race since I spent so much time racing in Japan, so I'm really looking forward to it."
Theerapong Opaskornkul, Senior General Manager of Sales & Marketing Support
"Winning successive races in SS600 is both a big challenge and major source of motivation for our team, and it is what we should be aiming for. Today Peerapong made it six in a row, which is a proud achievement for us as a team. To equal the all-time ARRC record of seven straight wins, and then to set a new record with eight is exactly what we'll be trying to do at Suzuka. Apiwat didn't get the greatest start in Race 2, but he came back and got involved with the fight for the lead. Both Parkes and Apiwat are riding R1s, and I think Apiwat showed that he is equal to or better than his rivals here today. To finish 3rd was somewhat frustrating but we'll be back at Suzuka with a stronger bike and we'll try for the podium with both Apiwat and Ratthapong."
Hong Leong Yamaha Malaysia
#127 Kasma Daniel Bin Kasmayudin (SS600: 3rd)
"Yesterday we had some technical issues, so today we used a new engine with revised settings in Race 2. The engine braking wasn't quite right, so actually our Race 1 setup was better I think. That's why my lap times were slower than Peerapong and the other guys and they left me behind. It wasn't ideal, but that was the reality. This is my second season in SS600 and the bike is a new model this year. I have experience from last year so that isn't a problem, and I'm riding in CEV Moto2 so I've had a lot of chances to ride the R6. Our bike in the ARRC is even easier to ride than the CEV bike so it's been positive for me. I still haven't been able to beat Peerapong though. I just can't keep up with him through the corners. We'll have new settings to try for Suzuka, so next time I really want to win."
Yamaha Racing Indonesia
#36 Muhammad Faerozi (AP250: 3rd)
"We got an extra 500 rpm in comparison to the leading machines due to the race regulations, so I could be a lot more competitive. Starts are always important and I got a good one and after pushing hard from there I was able to get into the front group. My plan was to push on the last three laps and I had confidence in sector three so I was planning to go for the inside in the final corner. It worked and that got me from 6th to 3rd. I've been riding in this class since last season but this is my first podium, so I'm very happy. I want to take a lot of points from both races at Suzuka so my goal is to close in on the front guys in the championship hunt. I'm planning to have a chat with the team and look at our data to figure out the best way to prepare for Suzuka."
#89 Wahyu Nugroho (UB150: 3rd)
"There was a crash that meant we had to re-start the race, and after that I got a good start and was already in a good position in the first corner. After that I tried to push to stay with the lead guys and save my attack for the last two laps. The last corner on the last lap is where I really went for it, and I got up the inside to go from 5th to 3rd. I'm so thankful to my sponsors, the fans, my family and my team for this result. I'm going to target the top three in Suzuka and try to get maximum points from both races. This is my first time to go to Suzuka and I've heard it's a technical track, so I'll play some video games to study up about it."
Team Manager Wahyu Rusmayadi
"At Sepang we crashed out of a good position, but here we got out first podium in UB150. Nugroho came from 29th to the podium and showed how much potential both he as a rider and our team has. This result has also boosted our team's motivation, so we hope to use this result to aim higher not only at Suzuka but also for the rest of the season. We got the podium we've been waiting for so long in AP250, which was also Yamaha's first of the season so it's even better. Kawasaki has been strong in the last two rounds, but here we were able to compete with them, which only boosts our motivation and has a positive influence on our team. Faerozi gradually developing as a rider is a big part of it too. We'll work on getting even more motivated as we head into the next few rounds."