Honda's first-placed Yuki Takahashi and second-placed Jakkrit Swangswat and third-placed Ahmad Yudhistira celebrate their victory in the 600cc class
By Sports Reporter/Doha
Honda’s Yuki Takahashi took victory in Race 1 of the SuperSports 600cc class to extend his championship lead while title challenger Tomoyoshi Koyama crashed in Round 5 of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship at the Losail International Circuit on Friday.
The poleman was seen struggling at the start of the race with eight riders battling for lead but his fortunes changed for the better in lap 7 when Taiga Hada clipped leader Koyama’s rear, causing both T Pro Yuzy Honda NTS riders to crash at Turn 1.
Takahashi quickly capitalized on the commotion to thrust his way to the front and from there the race was smooth sailing for the Musashi Boon Siew Honda rider. He eventually completed the race in 31.26.663 seconds to take his fourth consecutive victory for the season.
Jakkrit Swangswat (AP Honda Racing Thailand) claimed his maiden SuperSports 600cc podium in second place in 31.33.646s after teammate Ratthapong Wilairot who was running in second, crashed with three laps to go.
Meanwhile, Yudhistira who got caught up behind Koyama and Taiga’s crash, clawed his way up the field from seventh to third, snatching the final podium in 31.36.305s away from Makoto Inagaki (Yellowcord Akeno Speed Racing) and Zaqhwan Zaidi, who rounded up the top five.
“Race 1 was very difficult but I’m glad we came out on top in the end. Everybody was really fast and despite making a good start, I could not escape. But in lap 7 the opportunity presented itself when Koyama and Taiga crashed. It was a great battle and I hope we can win again in Race 2 tomorrow," said Takahashi.
Hauling 25 points from Race 1, the Honda man extends his championship lead to 152 points while Koyama, who failed to pick any points, maintains his position second overall with 117 points.
Separately, Takehiro Yamamoto secured a hard-fought victory in Race 1 of the Asia Production 250cc.
The Trickstar Racing rider went neck-to-neck with AP Honda Racing Thailand duo, Apiwat Wongthananon and Nakarin Athiratphuvapat, before he got the best of his rivals in the dying minutes of the nine-lap race with 21’51.547s.
Lagging by 0.166 seconds was Ayumu Tanaka (Yellowcord Akeno Speed Racing) who broke Honda and Kawasaki’s dominance to become the first Yamaha rider to finish on the AP250 podium in second place with 21.51.713s followed by Nakarin in 21.51.734s.
Meanwhile, Amirul Ariff Musa could not have asked for a better comeback to the Underbone 130cc as he converted pole position into a well-deserved victory in Race 1 under Losail's floodlights.
The T Pro Yuzy Honda NTS rider
took the victory in a dramatic battle that saw him slipstream his way from midfield to first at the final sprint to the chequered flag.
Amirul wrapped up the race in 18.17.637s, by a slim margin of 0.017 seconds ahead of Gupita Kresna (Manual Tech KYT Rextor) in 18.17.654s while Azam Omar (Petronas Hong Leong Yamaha) claimed his second podium for the season in third place with 18’17.679s.
Gupita’s closest title contender, Norizman Ismail (Harian Metro Y-TEQ SCK Honda Racing) was also seen
competing with the front group but a technical error saw him drop down the field and finish 15th.
Even so, Gupita will have to hold off his title celebrations as Norizman still stands a mathematical chance to fight for the title with 52 points now separating them.
Race 1 results
SuperSports 600cc: 1. Yuki Takahashi (Honda) 31.26.663s; 2. Jakkrit Swangswat (Honda) 31.33.646s; 3. Ahmad Yudhistira (Kawasaki) 31.36.305s; 4. Makoto Inagaki (Yamaha) 31.36.690s; 5. Zaqhwan Zaidi (Honda) 31.36.759s
Asia Production 250cc: 1. Takehiro Yamamoto (Kawasaki) 21.51.547s; 2. Ayumu Tanaka (Yamaha) 21.51.713s; 3. Nakarin Athiratphuvapat (Honda) 21.51.734s; 4. Apiwat Wongthananon (Honda) 21.51.857s
Underbone 130cc: 1. Amirul Ariff Musa (Honda) 18.17.637s; 2. Gupita Kresna (Kawasaki) 18.17.654s; 3. Azam Omar (Yamaha) 18.17.679s; 4. Fareez Afeez (Yamaha) 18.17.681s; 5. Wahyu Aji Trilaksana (Yamaha) 18.17.690s
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