SEPANG: Mohd Zamri Baba will start the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship SuperSports 600cc race in pole position after setting a new qualifying record at the Sepang Circuit.
The Musashi Boon Siew Honda Racing rider clocked 1:05.123 in his third lap and remained unbeatable throughout the 40-minute qualifying session.
The previous lap record was held by now retired SuperSports 600cc heavyweight Katsuaki Fujiwara of Japan.
Team-mate Yuki Takahashi, who was 0.206 seconds off the pace will start next to Zamri while Ahmad Yudhistira (Manual tech KYT Kawasaki), who was fastest in the final practice, locked out the front row with 1:05.353.
“Track temperature was at 50°C before the qualifying and I knew if I didn’t put in a fast lap before the temperature went up, there was no way we could get pole,” said Zamri.
“I went hard on the throttle as soon as I left the pits.
“I’m very happy the strategy worked because I did not think it was possible given the traffic on track.”
Zamri said he is under a lot of pressure to perform in his home race.
“Last year I won both races at Sepang with a broken leg so naturally there is a lot of expectations on me to repeat the feat this year.
“This puts a lot of pressure on the team which is not so good. Right now we are putting all that aside and we will try our best for tomorrow’s race. If we win then that’s a bonus,” he said.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s Apiwat Wongthananon surprised the paddock as he took pole position in the Asia Production 250cc, edging out Takehiro Yamamoto of Japan, who had dominated the practice sessions and the pre-season test.
The AP Honda Racing Thailand rider posted 1:15.849. Takehiro (Trickstar Racing) settled for grid two with 1:16.162 with another Thai rider Nakarin Atiratphuvapat taking third (1:16.503).