Race 2 of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup 2015 Round 4 ends with rookie rider Ai Ogura leading another all-Japan podium lock-out in Zhuhai, China.
For the second time this weekend, the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup 2015 series took the black top of the Zhuhai International Circuit (ZIC) here in China for the weekend’s second race. The series’ Honda NSF250R bikes roared to life on the grid, fuelling yet another intense day of battles for the podium.
Unlike yesterday, the lead pack grew from five to eight riders vying for the top three. Amongst them riders were Malaysian pole-sitter Adam Norrodin, followed by the Japanese brigade of Ayumu Sasaki, Ai Ogura, Takuma Kunimine, Yuta Date and Kazuki Masaki, as well as Indonesian rider Gerry Salim and Thailand’s Nakarin ‘Chip’ Athiratphuvapat.
The battle raged on as soon as the lighted turned green for the 17-lap event. Mistakes saw both Yuta Date and Chip Nakarin overshooting off the course, with the former resuming to settle with an 11th place finish whilst the latter’s day came to an end in the gravel trap with less than a lap remaining.
Drama again ensued in the final stages of the race as Ogura, Masaki, Kunimine, Adam, Gerry and Sasaki were all battling for the podium. In an excellent display of riding skills and race tactics, Japanese rookie Ai Ogura earned his maiden series win as the chequered flag was waived. For Ogura, this was a sweet follow up from his podium finish earned in Race 1 held yesterday.
However, just 0.100 seconds behind him was fellow countryman Kazuki Masaki in 2nd. Then, the heated battle for 3rd between Adam and Kunimine was a very heated one. Alas, fortune favoured Kunimine as he crossed the line to capture 3rd place ahead of Adam in 4th with just less than a bike’s length separating the two.
Adam’s near-miss on landing a podium finish was not the only surpise –Sasaki settled for a 6th place finish after what appeared to be quite a struggle for him in the melee. But all is not lost as the winner of yesterday’s Race 1 continues to leads the standings with a total of 136 points. Kunimine ranks in second with 107 points, followed by Kazuki Masaki in third with 92 points in total.
For Team Malaysia, today’s outing was indeed much more promising. Aside from the absence of injured rider Shafiq Rasol, all four full-time riders and the two wildcards charted important race finishes today. Besides Adam’s fourth place finish, Helmi Azman classified 8th, followed by rookie Azroy Anuar in 9th – one of his best results so far – whilst Fakhrusy Rostam soldiered through the pains his leg injury to finish in 10th.
Malaysian wildcards Ahmad Idham Khairuddin and Luth Erwan, on the other hand, charted important race finishes again. While Idham was relieved and delighted with the added experience and mileage gained, Luth was able to improve his race pace today having not been lapped by the lead group like yesterday.
However, the news is a little less stimulating as far as the point standings go. Though Adam Norrodin has managed to retain his spot in the top 10 by ranking 8th overall with a total of 64 points, Helmi now sits outside the top 10, but is close indeed with his ranking of 11th overall with his haul of 59 points so far.
Next comes Fakhrusy in 12th with a total of 52 points in total, with the two Zhuhai race finishes allowing him to overtake injured Shafiq who is ranked 13th with 46 points in total. Finally comes rookie Azroy in 16th with his total of 26 points.
The Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup 2015 will head to Japan for its fifth round next month in the Twin Ring Motegi race course in Japan. The weekend, which runs from Oct 9 to Oct 11, will have two races held in support of the weekend’s scheduled Japanese MotoGP race weekend. After that, the season will come to its finale during the Malaysian MotoGP weekend in Sepang from Oct 23 to Oct 25.
2015 Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup Round 4 @ Zhuhai, China – Race 2
2015 Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup Round 4 Race 2 byMauro Talamonti