Yamaha Racing Asean’s Yuki Ito consolidated his reputation as a fast learner of new circuits by taking pole position at The Bend Motorsport Park this afternoon.
The Japanese logged a best lap of 1:56.591 halfway through the 40 minute session. His time looked unassailable until Britain’s Joe Francis went out on the WeBike IKAZUCHI Yamaha on fresh tyres after 30 minutes and flew round the 4.9km circuit within a tenth of Ito. Idemitsu Honda’s Taiga Hada followed suit and got within a tenth of Anthony West’s understudy with two minutes remaining to complete the Supersport front row.
Hong Leong Yamaha’s Kasma Daniel Kasmayudin showed what he is capable of with a lap of 1:56.736 to qualify fourth ahead of former GP125 star Tomoyoshi Koyama, who lapped consistently in the 1:57s, edging a hard charging Decha Kraisart to the outside of row 2 by three hundredths of a second.
Defending champion, Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman was in and out of the pits throughout the session, managing a best time of 1:57.509, which means he will start from the middle of the fourth row. The Malaysian needs 13 points to catch the absent West at the top of the title ladder, but has left himself plenty of work to do over the weekend.
Broc Pearson was the best of the wildcards, qualifying 16th, nine tenths faster than Tom Toparis who will start next to him on the sixth row. Scott Nicholson, on the sole Suzuki, will start from 22nd place.
Asia Production 250 – Rheza Danica leads front row lockout for Astra Honda
There was a clear shift in the balance of power between Indonesia and Thailand in Asia Production 250cc Qualifying at The Bend Motorsport Park, when Rheza Danica Ahrens led a 1-2-3 to lock out the front row for Race 1 on Saturday.
Rheza put in an early killer lap of 2:08.039, and sat at the top of the timing sheets as the rest of the pack fought it out for the remaining places at the front. Astra Honda’s ‘Super’ Mario Surio Aji was the best of the rest, grabbing second place more than half a second behind and with a margin of 0.212 to Ahwin Sanjaya, who completes the front row.
Behind the red white Honda front row is a blue and white Yamaha second row, led by Indonesia’s Rafid Topan Sucipto from Yamaha Thailand’s Anuparb Sarmoon and Faerozi on Yamaha Indonesia.
Anuparb began to get among the leaders in the middle of the session, but, in the end, could only get within a second of Rheza. The next best Honda rider was Muklada Sarapuech, who qualified ninth with a best lap of 2:09.602 after a crash late in the session at the final turn spoiled her chances of improving further. She is behind two more Indonesians, Andy Fadly and Anggi Setiawan.
The fourth row is all Thai, with AP Honda’s Kritchaporn Kaewsonthi and Yamaha Thailand’s Peerapong Boonlert and Kanatat Jaiman. Of the other fancied riders, Yamaha Indonesia’s Richard Taroreh qualified 13th, to complete the list of riders likely to be in the leading group when racing starts.
Underbone 150 – Helmi upstages Wahyu in Superpole
As the Asia Road Racing Championship’s Underbone pack got to grips with the curves, cambers and undulations of The Bend Motorsport Park during morning Qualifying, Wahyu Aji Trilaksana asserted his authority by recording a fastest time of 2:18.954, a full 1.2 seconds quicker than Izzat Zaidi. The impressive wildcard, Travis Hall, was third fastest.
Wahyu Aji, the 2016 champion, is seeking redemption at The Bend after being hit with 21 points worth of penalties during Round 1 in Thailand last month.
Qualifying regulations determine that the top 15 Underbone riders go through to Superpole, which determines grid positions according to times achieved on a single lap without slipstreaming. Riders are released at 20 second intervals in three groups of five.
SCK Rapido Hi Rev Honda’s Helmi Azman qualified sixth, so went out at the back of the middle group. He hit a close to perfect lap 2:18.857. Wahyu Aji was four tenths slower on his single lap, which was good enough for second, in front of UMA Racing’s Haziq Fairues.
Filipino wildcard, McKinley Kyle Paz was fourth quickest, ahead of RCB Yamaha YY Pang’s Izzat Zaidi and Ammirul Ariff for Yuzy Honda Vietnam.
13-year-old Travis Hall will start from the third row, showing that he is more than capable of running with Asia’s fastest Underbone riders, and therefore guaranteeing himself a wild weekend in Tailem Bend.