Katsuaki Fujiwara clocked 1:05.814 in the SuperSports 600cc practice at the Petronas Asia Road Racing Championships in Sepang on April 18, 2014.
SEPANG: Former champion Katsuaki Fujiwara fired the first salvo in the opening round of the Petronas Asia Road Racing Championships (ARRC) as he went quickest in the SuperSports 600cc practice sessions at the Sepang International Circuit.
The Japanese, who won the title in 2011, powered his Kawasaki machine to clock 1:05.814 on Friday.
Mohd Zamri Baba was second fastest in 1:05.814 on board Honda while Japan’s Yuki Ito was third fastest in 1:05.842 on board Yamaha.
Fujiwara was a fraction slower than his recorded time in the pre-seaseon test on the same track in February when he stopped the clock in 1:05.192.
“The track was a bit slippery today, as it would normally be on the first day of practice, but I think we made good time.
“I think we can go faster for qualifying tomorrow because there are some improvements to be made,” said Fujiwara.
This year, the ARRC has adopted a regulation change for the SuperSports 600cc race where teams must use soft compound tyres at least once in practice or qualifying. Previously, they only used medium compound throughout the race weekend. The usage of soft compound, which has a lot more grip, could mean a higher spot on the starting grid for some riders.
“I haven’t tried out the soft compound but we will use it tomorrow in qualifying. I think the soft coumpound will result in a faster time for qualifying, but we will see,” said Fujiwara.
Meanwhile, local riders dominated the Underbone 130cc practice sessions on Friday, with Norizman Ismail clocking the fastest time of 1:21.682.
Mohd Affendi Rosli, who was the last Malaysian to win the title in 2009 before Indonesians took over to reign supreme, was second fastest in 1:22.048. Third fastest was Ahmad Fazrul Sham in 1:22.217.