The Chang International Circuit in Buriram (Thailand) hosted the second round of 2018 Asia Talent Cup and Haruki Noguchi was able to win both races. So far Noguchi has got three wins and a second place and thanks to these results the Japanese rider leads the championship standings with 95 points, with the Australian Bill van Eerde (thir and second in Thailand) in second place with 70 points.
RACE 1 – Off the line it was Noguchi and Aji taking charge from the off, and the two were immediately beginning to pull a gap as the battle lit up behind. First a few tenths and then making some fresh air, the groundwork was laid for another duel to the line. This time, however, it was more high-speed chess as Aji held station behind Noguchi and let the Japanese rider lead, with the gap remaining fairly consistent. The Indonesian – known as ‘Super Mario’ – left his attack for a last chance, last corner dive up the inside, and he was able to get alongside Noguchi…but just wasn’t quite able to get it stopped. That allowed the Japanese rider to sweep through and keep his advantage to the line, with the two separated by seven tenths at the flag. The battle for third was still raging, however, and it was Bill van Eerde who emerged from the melee on top. Ten riders crossed the line covered by just over two seconds as they jostled for position and fought it out – with Danial Sharil of Malaysia following Australian van Eerde across the line, just ahead of the second Indonesian finisher, Afridza Munandar.
RACE 2 – There was immediate drama at the start as front row man Mario Aji suffered some problems and was unable to get started. That left Noguchi on pole and van Eerde in third separated by a gap, and the two got away well from the front row – with the group, this time, able to stay with and challenge Noguchi. It was a classic Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup battle thereafter, but van Eerde and Noguchi were just able to stay clear enough over the final laps to make it a duel for glory – and the Australian made a classic Buriram last lao lunge to try and take his second win. Side by side as they blasted down the start-finish straight, it as elbows out and no prisoners taking to the line – with Noguchi just ahead to take the win by only 0.005 for another photo-finish. Munandar took third and was only just over a tenth back, with another few bike lengths back to an impressive wildcard performance from home hero and top Thai finisher Warit Thingnoppakun, who crossed the line in fourth.
Next up for the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup it’s Sepang International Circuit as they race alongside the Malaysian Superbike Championship in July – with Noguchi in the hot seat and the Championship lead. As always all of the action can be followed on YouTube channel.