SEPANG: Japan’s Yuki Takahashi and Malaysia’s Zamri Baba capped a great start for Musashi Boon Siew Honda in the opening round of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship at the Sepang International Circuit.
Takahashi, a former Moto2 rider, lived up to his billing by cruising to victory in Race 1 of the SuperSports 600 class. He completed the 25-lap race in 27:31.626 followed by Zamri in 27:33.199. Thailand’s Ratthapong Wilairot of AP Honda Racing Thailand was third in 27:43.481.
Zamri then went on to win Race 2 which saw countless overtaking moves. He took the chequered flag in 27:53.707, 0.774 seconds ahead of Indonesian Ahmad Yudhistira of Manual Tech KYT Kawasaki.
With 45 points in the bag, Zamri leads the overall standings followed by Takahashi with 34 points.
“I’m proud to win one of the two races today at my home track and in front of my family, friends and supporters,” said Zamri.
“I knew it was not going to be easy to repeat last year’s double win but at least I managed to finish both races on the podium. I believe this year’s competition is going to be a lot more harder than previous seasons,” said Zamri.
Reflecting on his performances, Zamri added: “Race 1 did not go too well as I missed a gear at the start. For the rest of the race, I was playing catch-up with Yuki. Things were better in Race 2. I enjoyed a smooth start when the lights went out.”
In the new Asia Productions 250cc category, Japanese Takehiro Yamamoto of Trickstar Racing won Race 1 while AP Honda Racing Thailand’s Apiwat Wongthananon emerged champion in Race 2.
Yamamoto won Race 1 in 20:38.176 ahead of Thais (20:38.211) and Vorapong Malahuan (20:52.270).
Yamamoto made a mistake at the final turn in Race 2 and Apiwat, Vorapong and Nakarin Athiratphuvapat took advantage to make a clean podium sweep for Thailand. Apiwat clocked 20:45.779 followed by Vorapong (20:45.865) and Nakarin (20:45.870).
Round 2 will be held at the Sentul Circuit in Indonesia from June 4-7.