Race 1: Parkes Takes 2nd Win of Season as Ito Finishes 6th
The Yamaha Racing Team ASEAN's Broc Parkes avoided several accidents and overcame a tight battle with rivals to claim his second win of the season.
Parkes' bad luck started in qualifying. He crashed during the final push for fast times, causing major damage to the machine. The team was then thrown into a crisis situation trying to get it repaired in time for Race 1. They did manage to barely finish in time, but Parkes had to head out to the grid without giving the repaired bike a shakedown ride. He quickly put that behind him as he made a great start, getting into 3rd behind Honda's Md Zaqhwan Zaidi (#21) and BMW's Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman (#25). On lap 2 Parkes overshot a corner and lost positions, which brought him into lap 3 in 6th behind Apiwat Wongthananon (#24), Kawasaki's Bryan Staring (#60) and Ratthapong Wilairot (#56).
It was from this point that he mounted an immediate counterattack. He set his fastest lap of the race on lap 5 and overtook Staring on the first corner of lap 6 before finding his way past Apiwat on the same lap to work his way back into 3rd. Lap 7 saw him pass Kamaruzaman for 2nd, which brought him within view of race leader Zaidi. Parkes stalked Zaidi for a time then made a pass on lap 8 in the first corner to take over the lead.
Parkes would not be able to ride off into the sunset however, as he had his second major overshoot shortly after, which allowed Zaidi to retaliate. Zaidi soon made a mistake of his own that allowed Parkes back past, but this time Parkes hit a spurt of fast laps to quickly build up a gap big enough to keep the Malaysian rider at bay, which he maintained until he took the chequers.
Parkes' teammate Ito ran into his own major mishap during the race weekend. He crashed in free practice 2 and injured his left ankle. Ito had extra motivation with this being his home race, so even with extensive injuries he made the brave decision to continue. He qualified 9th and made it to the grid for Race 1.
He held his position in 9th for the first lap, and on lap 2 he upped his pace and made it to 7th. He then set his fastest lap of the race on lap 4, which got him up to 6th overall. At that point he was lapping faster than the lead group, and soon caught up to 5th-positioned Staring. Ito got stuck there, unable to make a pass, until two laps from the finish. It was clear that he had used up much of his energy by this point, and as such was not able to get past in the end despite a strong effort. He finished 0.06 seconds behind Staring in 6th, picking up valuable championship points in the process.
Apiwat was within reach of the podium positions during the race and looked on course to take 3rd, but a last lap battle with Zaidi relegated him to 4th. Wilairot, who had qualified well, lost positions on the start and eventually finished 7th.
Race 2: Three Yamaha Riders: Nakatomi, Parkes and Ito Sweep Podium
Race 2 started off an hour later than scheduled due to a rainstorm bringing a halt to the SS600 race. Although the rain had stopped, track conditions warranted a fully wet race. Veteran Japanese rider Shinichi Nakatomi, Broc Parkes and the injured Yuki Ito battled for the lead and ended up sweeping the podium positions for Yamaha.
The order after the first lap was Wilairot, Zaidi, Nakatomi, Parkes and Ito. Ito made quick moves to get past Zaidi, who was already dropping backwards. He then went on to pass teammate Parkes to get into 3rd. At that point the top four machines were all Yamahas.
The opening laps were a contest among Wilairot, Nakatomi Ito and Parkes, after which the riders started making moves. First Nakatomi and Ito passed Wilairot, and then the injured Ito set a fast pace to stay on Nakatomi's rear wheel, showing no signs of his injuries affecting him, as the two battled for the lead. When Nakatomi came past in the second half however, Parkes and Wilairot saw this as their signal to go. They closed in on the front two to make it a four-way battle once again.
Amid this tense fight, Wilairot was the first to make a mistake that cost him positions, which narrowed it down to Nakatomi, Ito and Parkes. When the final two laps came Nakatomi tried to get away from the pair, and seeing this Parkes tried to make a move on Ito so as not to Nakatomi break away. Ito had other ideas however, fighting hard to hang onto his position in 2nd. By the last lap Ito had completely run out of energy, and that allowed Parkes to get past. He then set off after Nakatomi but it was too late. Nakatomi took the win with Parkes in 2nd and Ito in 3rd, making it an all-Yamaha podium finish for Race 2. Although Wilairot dropped off of the lead group, he finished a season-best 4th as teammate Apiwat struggled with the wet track surface before finishing 8th.
Race 1: R6 Riders Minamimoto, Kasmayudin and Boonlert Sweep Podium
Participants of the 2016 and 2017 Yamaha VR46 Master Camp shined on the ARRC stage in Race 1. Peerapong Boonlert (#26) took pole position in qualifying, and wildcard rider Soichiro Minamimoto (#22) was in 2nd while Hong Leong Yamaha Malaysia rider Kasma Daniel bin Kasmayudin (#127) was 3rd, putting three Yamahas on the front row for the race. These three would be in contention for the win come Race 1.
Boonlert got the holeshot with Kasmayudin behind him in 2nd. Minamimoto started from 2nd but wheelied off the line and lost positions, but he quickly recovered to 3rd by lap 3. All three riders held a similar pace, and as such there were few position changes as they ticked off laps.
The big moves came in the second half of the race. Kasmayudin started things off, closing in on the tail of Boonlert and trying to line up alongside. Minamimoto had also closed in to around .05 seconds of the pair, making it a three-way battle. Kasmayudin made the first move to hit the front, causing the normally rock-solid Boonlert to make a mistake and allowing Minamimoto into 2nd. The winner was decided shortly after, as Minamimoto then passed Kasmayudin in the final chicane for the lead and went on to open a gap and hold it until the finish. Kasmayudin finished 2nd with Boonlert in 3rd. The three attended the Master Camp in Italy and have gone their separate ways since, but the ARRC has brought them back together and as they swept the podium, it was a show of how far each has progressed as a rider.
Race 2: Boonlert Dominates 5-lap Sprint race for 7th Win of Season
The rain that began to fall in the afternoon was at its peak just before the start of SS600's Race 2. Boonlert, with revenge on his mind, got the holeshot with Kasmayudin behind him, but the positions changed on the first lap. Boonlert was in the lead but between he and Minamimoto in 4th there were two rival riders, with Ahmad Afif Amran (#50) trailing him in 5th and Kasmayudin in 6th as they came around to start lap 2. Just then the rain began to fall harder, causing conditions to worsen considerably. This made it extremely treacherous as three machines crashed at the same point, making it clear that it was too dangerous to continue, and the race was red-flagged.
After a short wait, the weather looked to be lightening up and it was announced that the re-started race would be a short sprint of only five laps. All the riders, including those who had crashed, lined back up to re-start the race.
With such a short race the start would be key, and once again Boonlert made the holeshot with Minamimoto in 2nd. Two Japanese wildcard riders were behind them, followed by Kasmayudin and Amran. Boonlert held a fast pace in 1st despite the slippery tarmac, but further back Kyosuke Okuda (#52) passed Minamimoto to take over 2nd and began closing in on Boonlert.
Boonlert then responded by upping his pace, but it was not enough to shake off Okuda. They started the final lap with a 0.02 second gap between them. In the end Boonlert was able to hold Okuda off to take his seventh win of the season, which was also his eighth podium in succession from four rounds. Minamimoto took a second successive podium in 2nd while Kasmayudin finished 4th and Amran crashed out of the race.
Race 1: R25 Riders Rakutore in 3rd, Faerozi 9th
Yamaha Racing Indonesia's Muhammad Faerozi (#36) qualified in 4th and finished the race in 9th. Fellow YZF-R25 rider Reynaldo Chrisantho Ratukore of the ONEXOX TKKR SAG Racing Team (#222) made it into the leading group and battled it out to take 3rd.
After starting in 4th, Faerozi dropped back to 6th after the first lap and got into the second group from the lead, which also featured pole sitter Andy Muhammad Fadly (#108). Faerozi was then involved in a scrap for the rest of the race, and came into the final lap in 10th. He fought hard but was only able to make up one position to finish 9th.
Meanwhile Rakutore also got away in the second group with Faerozi and was in 6th on the final lap before drasically improving positions to take 3rd at the flag.
Faerozi's teammate Anggi Setiawan (#96) finished 16th while Yamaha Thailand Racing Team rider Sawapol Nillapong crossed the line in 21st. Suttipat Patchaeetron (#86) crashed and retired from the race.
Race 2: Nillapong Finishes 5th in Rain-soaked Race
Although Race 2 turned into a slippery, wet ride, the Yamaha Thailand Racing Team's rookie rider Nillapong fought bravely to take a personal best 5th place finish.
In the race Faerozi made a great start from 4th on the grid before making up two positions to be 2nd at the end of lap 1. He would finish lap 2 in 4th before going on to crash on lap 3 and retire from the race.
Meanwhile Nillapong started from 23rd and although riders in front dropping out did help somewhat, he did very well to steadily gain positions in spite of the wet conditions. On lap 3, he had joined the group of four trailing the two leaders, where he was involved in a scrap for the podium positions.
With two laps to go, the rider in 2nd crashed. This put Nillapong in 4th coming into the final lap as he pushed his machine harder to try for 3rd. His rivals had the same idea though, and fought with him, which cost him precious time. He refused to give up and mounted several challenges before the flag, but ended up finishing 5th, which made him top Yamaha and was his personal best finish in the class. Elsewhere Setiawan finished 11th and Patchaeetron in 13th.
Race 1: Yamaha Riders Sweep Podium
Yamaha Racing Indonesia rider Aldi Satya Mahendra (#570) led the race after the first lap. His teammate Wahyu Negroho (#89) was near the front, but on lap 2 positions changed across the board with a huge lead group forming. In it, Wahyu fell backward while Mahendra did the same, eventually having to retire.
Elsewhere, the UMA Racing Yamaha Philippines Team's McKinley Kyle Paz (#123) was running in the top positions but on lap 5 lost out and dropped back. From that point the only Yamaha rider left in the lead group was Paz's teammate Masato Fernando. Fernando made his move coming into the final corner of the final lap, and in doing so made contact with another rider which caused him to lose considerable time. He was able to re-start but ended up finishing 14th. Negroho finished behind him in 16th. The podium was made up entirely of Indonesian Yamaha riders who were able to defend until the chequers.
Race 2: 13 Year Old Hero Emerges: Indonesia's Aldi Takes First Win
With rain pouring down and fully wet conditions in place, the race start was delayed due to an oil spill. Following this the race was reduced from six to just five laps. Teammates Negroho and Aldi started near the front. Philippine rider Paz was also involved in the group of six or seven machines forming the lead group.
The wet conditions proved treacherous as there were several accidents, including Negroho who crashed out. Paz also faded out of the lead group, leaving only Aldi in the group of four at the front. He entered the final lap in the lead and a fierce skirmish broke out to see who would take the win, but it was Aldi who came through the final chicane in front. He held on through the entry to the final corner and accelerated out to make it across the finish line and win. The ARRC rookie held back his more experienced rivals for a famous first victory in the class. This race made it clear that there is a new 13 year old hero in UB150, and he rides a Yamaha.
Round 5 is set to be held between August 9-11 at the Zhuhai International Circuit in China.
Yamaha Racing Team ASEAN
#23 Broc Parkes (ASB1000: 1st)
"At the end of qualifying the tyres and bike were feeling good and I was really fast, but I was a little too stiff and lost the front and crashed. The bike hit the wall and was damaged. I felt bad for the mechanics, but I have to say thank you to them because they were able to get the bike back together in time. As you can see from the result, we did have some trouble but the bike was in great shape for the race. The race was one of the best I've had yet, but I'm still not fully satisfied with the weekend as I want to take one more win tomorrow. I think Zaqhwan, who has raced at Suzuka a lot in the All Japan championship is going to be up there again, but our bike is working so well so I definitely think we can do it."
#76 Yuki Ito (ASB1000: 6th)
"I knew my injury (left ankle) was bad, but taking no points from my home round here was out of the question. I felt like I wouldn't be able to look the fans who came out to support me in the eye, so that's why I decided to try to race. Trying to ride in FP3 at first I thought it just wouldn't be possible to continue, but the more laps I did the more flexibility I got in my leg, so my times weren't bad, and we figured out a way to overcome the shifting issue, so we decided to race. I knew I wouldn't be able to do anything silly, so I tried to just ride while calmly watching the guys in front and seeing how my physical condition held up. I finished three positions lower than where I qualified, and I went for a pass on Staring but couldn't make it, so I'm disappointed about that. That's something that wasn't totally about my physical condition, so we know some things to work on for tomorrow. I won't be able to push myself too hard in Race 2 either, but I think I'll be in position to see the front guys so I plan to go for the podium."
Team Manager Yukihiko Kurata
"We had a lot of issues in the leadup to today's race and we came into the race in a pretty hectic state, but the riders and team pulled together to put on their best performance and our results reflect that. First of all was Parkes, who had a huge crash at the end of qualifying after changing tyres, and the major issue there was that he didn't have a chance to check out the rebuilt bike before the race. But thanks to the mechanics hard work he was able to take that bike and win the race, which was really important for the championship. Ito crashed in FP2 and got injured. His injury was so bad that we were looking at him withdrawing from the weekend, but he was adamant about taking as many points as he could possibly get, so we respected his wishes and made the decision for him to race. The result was a 6th place finish, but considering the situation I think this was a fantastic result that we can be satisfied with. We're clear on what we need to change for Race 2, so we'll do that and aim for strong results. Lend us your cheers tomorrow!"
Hong Leong Yamaha Malaysia
#127 Kasma Daniel bin Kasmayudin (SS600: 2nd)
"I'm very happy with my 2nd place result. That's because it was my first time to podium at Suzuka, which can be a tricky circuit, and I'll be able to use my experience here again next year. Both Boonlert and Minamimoto are very strong riders. For Minamimoto this is his home circuit, and Boonlert has a lot of experience here in the Suzuka 4 Hours and such. I also have some experience, but honestly my times weren't that good. So by sticking with them in the race I could do fast laps, and that's how I got on the podium, I think. Both Boonlert and Minamimoto made mistakes so I did have chances to win, but I couldn't capitalize on those chances. Tomorrow I all I want to do is win."
Yamaha Thailand Racing Team
#26 Peerapong Boonlert (SS600:3rd)
"It's disappointing not to win, but I'm happy to have had a new experience. Suspension is something really important in bike setups, and for this round we changed out the rear suspension to something different than what we've used in the previous three rounds. We did that because I wanted to challenge myself with a new riding style. Suzuka is one of the most difficult circuits, so we felt we needed to try. To be honest we weren't quite where we needed to be with that, but the good thing was that I got a chance to ride behind Kasma Daniel and Soichiro to get a feel for their riding, so I'm chalking that up as a positive experience. We'll adjust the settings and come back stronger for tomorrow's race.
Theerapong Opaskornkul, Senior General Manager of Sales & Marketing Support
"Boonlert's winning streak came to an end, but that's just how it goes in motorsport. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. I think it was a good experience for Peerapong. At this race there was a local Japanese wildcard rider, Soichiro Minamimoto, who was very fast. Kasma Daniel was also strong, so it was an even more challenging race than usual. Our team will take all the data we gathered today and analyze it to be in the best shape possible for tomorrow's race, so Peerapong can be confident when he lines up on the grid."
Yamaha Racing Team ASEAN
#23 Broc Parkes (ASB1000: 2nd)
"Yesterday we had some small mechanical issues and today those weren't totally fixed, so the first three laps was just riding and checking out how the bike worked. To be honest it still wasn't perfect, but I knew we could still be competitive. In the race Nakatomi and Ito were both really fast. I was behind Wilairot for a long time, but when I got past him that's when I started pushing to catch up. But I didn't leave myself enough time to get all the way to the front. The battle with Ito in the last few laps was really tough. Of course he's my teammate, but he's also really quick. I saw his tyre spinning up though, so I thought I had a chance to go for it. I did make it past him so I was happy with that. 2nd is great, especially because my championship rivals finished much further down. At the next round I'll have the same goal, to win races and build up a bigger championship lead."
#76 Yuki Ito (ASB1000: 3rd)
"I thought a wet race wouldn't be as hard on my hurt ankle, so it was a good chance for me. I wanted to be in the top positions in the first few laps, but I didn't think I'd be able to make it up as high as I did. After getting in behind Nakatomi I figured out that my lap times were faster than his, and that the guys behind us were catching up, so my plan was to pass him and take him with me or get away. Once I did that though my ankle started to really hurt and that slowed me down, so much that corners where I was normally faster I was losing time. By that time Parkes had caught up and I tried to keep him behind me but I didn't have the strength in my ankle left, so all I could do was try to ride to get a place on the podium. Of course deep down I wanted to win so I'm somewhat disappointed, but considering my injury I think I did the best I could. At the next round in China I want to try to manage the second half of the race better."
Team Manager Yukihiko Kurata
"Today both of our riders rode excellent races. First of all with Ito, our whole team had been thinking about the best way for him to have a good race. I think it was his strong will to win that allowed him to take such a great result today. I'm actually shocked, because really I thought it was a case of whether or not he could pick up any points at all. With Broc, yesterday we had some serious mechanical issues. Though we didn't fully fix it, we went in the right direction with getting it ready for the race, and that led to Broc's 2nd place finish. Since Nakatomi won and he was a wildcard, Broc was the highest placed championship contender, which helped to open a gap to his rivals. I think it was a big step towards winning the championship this season. Both of our riders have experience at the next track we go to in China, so we just need to focus on taking as many points as we can."
Yamaha Thailand Racing Team
#26 Peerapong Boonlert (SS600: 1st)
"Yesterday's result was pretty disappointing, so I'm extremely happy to be back on the top step of the podium. It was really wet in today's race which made the track tough, but luckily I've raced here in the Suzuka 4 Hours in the wet so I could put that experience to use. The race was re-started and we only had five laps, but to me those five laps felt really long. That's because the Japanese riders were so fast that I had to keep pushing hard the whole time. To be able to win in that situation was big for me. For the next race we want to improve the base setup so we can fight harder and hopefully add more wins to the tally."
Theerapong Opaskornkul, Senior General Manager of Sales & Marketing Support
"We're back on the top step. Our winning streak stopped yesterday, but we've been on the podium for eight races in a row now and we've won seven races in total. These are really fantastic results. Today's rainy conditions were quite tough, but Peerapong recovered well from yesterday's defeat to come back with a strong ride today. We adjusted the rear suspension after yesterday, then made some more minor adjustments for the wet conditions so that Peerapong could go in with confidence. It rained really hard and the race had to be stopped, but he had solid concentration. The Japanese riders were quick, but I think the fact that Peerapong has ridden here before in the wet in the Suzuka 4 Hours helped him get the win today. At the next round we just need to ride like we did today, and then keep that going for the rest of the season."
Yamaha Racing Indonesia
Aldi Satya Mahendra (UB150: 1st)
"I'm so happy to get my first win. It was a hard race with it being wet and the other guys being so strong. That made the battles pretty tough. But I really wanted to finish on the podium, so I kept thinking about that and rode as hard as I could and won. Next time in China I'll have to look back on what I did well here so I can be on the podium again."
Team Manager Wahyu Rusmayadi
"Aldi's win is Yamaha Racing Indonesia's first win of the season, so we're very happy. I'm really thankful to Aldi and the team for their hard work, and to our sponsors as well. After yesterday's race the team staff, mechanics and riders all came together to figure out the best settings, and I think that's what got us the victory today. Next time out we'll do our best to get points and work on improving our overall ranking."