Round 3 of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup 2016 in Sepang, Malaysia gets underway with Indonesian Andi Izdihar winning Race 1.
Round 3 of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup kicked itself into high gear in the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) this weekend. The series is supporting the weekend’s WSBK Malaysia 2016 and Malaysia Superbike Championship 2016 main events.
With two practice sessions completed yesterday, the series kicked its day off with a 30-minute qualifying session held in the morning before heading into Race 1 later at noon.
The morning’s Qualifying saw Japanese rider Kazuki Masaki taking pole positoon after setting the session’s fastest time at 2:21.705. Coming in second with just 0.139 seconds off Masaki’s pace was Indonesian Andi Izdihar in second, followed by Ai Ogura who qualified third with his best time of 2:21.877.
Malaysian riders Ahmad Idham Khairuddin and Izam Ikmal, on the other hand, fared out with mixed results. Whilst Ikmal settled for 18th on the grid, Ahmad Idham placed ninth instead with his fastest time of 2:22.975.
Once again, Sepang brought out the best of all the riders in the Asia Talent Cup. The 13-lap race saw a tight seven-way battle for the lead. In this melee that lasted right up to the final lap were front-runners Ogura, Masaki, Izdihar, as well as Yuki Kunii, Gerry Salim, Somkiat Chantra and Ryusei Yamanaka
The race was decided by Sepang’s technically challenging and re-profiled final Turn 15 as it incubated one of the season’s closest ever finishes again. First to reach the chequered flag was Izdihar, followed by Yamanaka in second and Salim in third.
Missing out on the podium here were Chantra in fourth, followed by Ogura, Masaki and Yuki Kunii. The top five riders were only separated by less than a second apart from each other – just 0.520 separated Izdihar and Yamanaka in second whilst Salim was 0.710 seconds down in third.
With its current progression, we are seeing the rising dominance of Indonesia in the third season of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup. Both Salim and Izdihar are showing strong performances eclipsing the long-dominant form of the series’ Japanese riders.
For the Malaysian encampment, the news gets better as rookie rider Ikmal finally ends his drought of points by finishing in 12th place. Ahmad Idham, on the other hand, finished in solid ninth place after equally fierce battle in the second group.
Race 2 will take place tomorrow on Sunday at 1pm local time. For those wishing to catch the race at home, you can do so online via its YouTube-hosted live streaming via this link – Race 2 live stream.