Sarath Kumar, Rajiv Sethu Eyeing Asia Road Racing Championship (Round 2)


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Akash1886

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Sarath Kumar, Rajiv Sethu set for Round 2 of Asia Road Racing Championship

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Buriram (Thailand), April 13: India’s Shankar Sarath Kumar and Rajiv Sethu, both representing RAMA Honda Racing team by NTS T.Pro Ten10 team, will renew their respective campaigns in the second round of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship at the Chang International Circuit here on Friday, hoping to improve on their performance in the previous outing in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, a fortnight ago.

Sarath Kumar, participating in the SuperSport 600cc class on a Honda CBR 600WR bike, picked up points in both the races in Johor while Sethu, astride the all new Honda CBR 250RR, made his debut in the highly competitive Asia Production 250cc.

Both the Chennai-based riders, supported by Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India, Honda Motorsports Japan and John Sudheer of RAMA Group of Companies, are part of a five-rider team that includes Japan’s Tiga Hada who delivered a double podium in Johor.

Sarath, shrugging off a collar bone injury that he suffered after a crash during pre-season test session, put in two impressive rides in Johor as he improved his time with each outing.

“I need to focus on my pace in Round 2. This circuit is fast and is one of my favourite as compared Johor. I am now feeling more confident on the bike and I hope good results will come from Round 2.

“I have been working hard on adapting to SuperSport style of riding. In Johor, I was still riding the 600 like a 250cc, carrying a lot of corner speed and losing precious time exiting the corner. Now, after a lot of data analysis and inputs from my team, I have started adapting to the big bike and I hope to score more points.

“The only setback is a crack in my collar bone from the crash during pre-season test, but I think, it is manageable. Honda and my team have been very supportive and I hope I give them something good this round,” said Sarath on the eve of the Buriram round.

Sethu, who is aiming for a top-15 finish here, said: “The AP250 category is very competitive. I have to come to terms with the competition and it is important that the all new Honda CBR250RR should be set up right. This bike is brand new, very powerful and a perfect package for the road racing.

“My expectations for this round is to finish in top 15 which in itself will be a great improvement on my lap times and riding. It's a step by step learning.”

John Sudheer, Team Ambassador and Director RAMA Group of Companies: “I am very excited about Thailand round as I enjoy the circuit a lot as compared to the others in the season. Also, Thailand is like my second home. The crowd here is electrifying and with the season of Songkran Festival, we are sure there will be a lot of celebration at the circuit and if we can add some cheer to the festival with some victory by Tiga Hada and improved performance by our Indian racers, I will be very glad.

Ramji Govindarajan, Team Manager: “Our season kicked off well with double podiums in Round 1 by Tiga Hada who has been a transformation this year. We expect some fireworks from Tomoyashi Koyama on CBR250RR this round. With regard to our own boys, we hope Sarath to have a better run in Chang International Circuit as his understanding of the bike has improved as compared to last year and even the first round. For Rajiv Sethu, this will be learning year for him which he can from his teammates who have over 30 years of combined experience racing and we are confident that he will improve his performance as the development of the new Honda CBR250RR Improves. Overall, we expect a good race across both AP250 and SS600.”
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Akash
 
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Asia Road Racing Championship 2017 in Chennai

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Sarath Kumar (left) and Rajiv Sethu (Sept 21).JPG

Chennai, September 21: The iconic MMRT track here will witness World-class and heart-stopping action as the Madras Motor Sports Club, after a four-year interval, play host to a round of the Asia Road Racing Championship which boasts of the cream of the region’s two-wheeler racing talent competing across three categories.

Riders from Australia, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Chinese-Taipei, besides two Chennai-based Indians – Shankar Sarath Kumar and Rajiv Sethu – are in the fray for the three-day event, the fifth round of the championship, commencing on Friday.

The ARRC field includes a clutch of riders with exposure at the World championship level and contesting in the SuperSports 600cc, Asia Production 250cc and the Underbone 150cc classes. Also on the weekend card are double-header support races in the Honda CBR 250 (Open) and TVS Apache 200 (Open) categories.

MMSC president Ajit Thomas said: “We once again welcome the Asia Road Racing Championship fraternity to Chennai, the spiritual home of Indian motorsport. We last hosted the ARRC at the MMRT four years ago and it is our privilege to yet again present the cream of Asia’s two-wheeler racing talent some of which have excelled at the World level.

“It has always been MMSC’s philosophy and tradition to organize and promote the sport at all levels. This year, we introduced a separate category for Girls in the two-wheeler National championship and we are happy that it evoked good response. So, hosting the ARRC has been a natural progression for us at the MMSC.

“We at the MMSC have also striven to attract two-wheeler manufacturers and our efforts have resulted in India’s top brands such as Honda, Suzuki, TVS, Yamaha, KTM, Bajaj and Royal Enfield, participating in our events in one form or other.”


Reflecting on his chances, 24-year old Sarath Kumar said:
Obviously, I am very excited to be racing on my home track and in front of our fans. The expectations will be high and that adds to the pressure, but quite inspiring.

“More importantly, thanks to all the hard work that MMSC officials have put in, we as riders can be proud of an international class paddock. The track conditions too are superb and I am hoping for a dry weekend without rains, but that is something nobody can control.

“As for my realistic target, it is to get my lap time under 1:46 (one minute, 46 seconds) which will get me closer to the front bunch of riders. The 600cc field is very strong and has plenty of experienced riders with World Championship exposure. So, you can expect a very high level of competition.

“Compared to last season when I was recovering from a knee injury, I am in better physical condition this year and am able to push more. My pace has improved, but the big problem is that I do not get any track time on the 600cc bike between races or pre-season.

“Here in the National championship, I ride the 250cc bike and so, when I get to the ARRC, I have to adapt to the bigger machine. It takes time and lot of effort. The progress can be a bit slow. However, this weekend, I will do my very best to deliver a good result.”


Rajiv Sethu, 18, said: “It has been a learning process for me in the ARRC this season. I have been improving with every outing and this weekend, I want to do better than my previous best finish of 16.

“The competition in the 250cc class is extremely tough with many riders capable of winning. The conditions here at the MMRT are excellent, and we can expect high quality racing.

“My goal is to stay with the leading bunch, and racing on my home track, I do not want to disappoint the fans. I have been in good form in the ongoing National championship and I hope to carry that form into this weekend.”
Regards

Akash
 
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Update

Decha Kraisart (No.24), quickest in the SuperSports 600cc class (Sept 22).JPG

Shankar Sarath Kumar in action during SuperSports 600cc practice session (Sept 22).JPG

Chennai, September, 22: The high-pitched whine of the SuperSports 600cc bikes reverberated through the MMRT track with as many as nine riders ducking under the lap record here on Friday as the fifth round of the Asia Road Racing Championship, being hosted by the Madras Motor Sports Club, got off the blocks in style.

Veteran Thailand star Decha Kraisart (Yamaha) clocked a sizzling one minute, 41.305 seconds around the 3.717 Kms track in the third Free Practice session late in the afternoon, bettering the previous best of 01:42.787 set by Kawasaki rider from Malaysia Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman who is also the current championship leader.

The 600cc riders improved their timings through the three practice sessions before Kraisart led a bunch of nine who broke Kamaruzaman’s record (01:42.785) set in 2013 when the event was last run at this venue. Karmaruzaman (01:41.801) himself was third quickest in FP-3 behind compatriot Md Zaqhwan Zaidi (Honda, 01:41.501).

Trailing the front-runners was the lone Indian entrant in this class, Shank Sarath Kumar who was about three seconds off the pace, but like other riders, improved his timings through the day.

The other Indian, 18-year old Rajiv Sethu, taking part in the Asia Production 250cc class, was also off the pace, but improved his timing by nearly seven seconds over three practice sessions.

Indian wild card entry in the Underbone 150cc class, Prabhu Arungagiri qualified 14th on the grid dominated by Malaysian riders.

The final round of the two MMSC One-Make Championships (Open class), Honda CBR 250 and TVS Apache 200, also got underway with one practice session apiece.

Ranchi’s Amit Richard Topno (Pro-Lap Racing), currently lying fifth in the championship, was quickest in the Honda CBR 250 category while leader Rajiv Sethu sat out the practice session while Prabhu V topped the TVS Apache class ahead of Sivanesan S who has already clinched the title, and was the third quickest behind Anand Kumar S.
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Akash
 
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Md Zaqhwan Zaidi (Malaysia), winner of the SuperSports 600cc race (Sept 23).JPG

Tomoyoshi Koyama (Japan), winner of the Asia Production 250cc race (Sept 23).JPG

Chennai, September 23: Amidst dramatic crashes and in searing heat with track temperatures soaring to 63 degrees, Malaysian rider Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi, astride a Honda machine, powered his way to victory in the premier SuperSports 600cc class as battles for leaderboard positions intensified in the fifth and penultimate round of the Asia Road Racing Championship, hosted by Madras Motor Sports Club, at the MMRT track, here on Saturday.

Zaidi started second on the grid behind pole-sitter Keminth Kubo (Japan, Yamaha), but eased to the front early in the 16-lap race. He then kept his nerves even as two other Japanese Taiga Hada (Honda) and Yuki Ito (Yamaha) scrapped for the other two podium spots to post his second win of the season. Hada finished second ahead of Ito.

Meanwhile, championship Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, nursing an injury following a high-side crash during Friday’s third free practice session, qualified 15th, but limped home in 10th place which earned him enough points to maintain his lead on the leaderboard with 124 points while Zaidi and Hada are level in second overall with 118, ahead of Sunday’s second race.

India’s Shankar Sarath Kumar achieved his objective of doing a one minute, 46-second lap, but could not make headway in the competitive 600cc field and finished a lap down in 12th spot.

In the Asia Production 250cc category, Indonesian Gerry Salim, who was expected to seal the title in the first race today, crashed twice during the warm-up lap and sat out the race.

In his absence, Tomoyoshi Koyama (Japan) scored his first AP250 win but not before holding off Thailand’s Anupab Sarmoon who eventually finished second. Indonesia’s Galang Hendra Pratama came in third. Indian entry Rajiv Sethu ended up 19th.

Fakhrusy Syakirin Rostam, on a Honda, chalked up his third win of the season in the Underbone 150cc class in a tight finish after surviving close attention from Mohd Haziq Mohd Fairues (Yamaha) and Azroy Hakeem Anuar (Honda) for an all-Malaysian podium.

Rajiv Sethu clinched the title in the Honda CBR 250 (Open) category of the MMSC One-Make Championship despite finishing fifth in the support race which was won by Deepak Ravikumar. The 10 points that Sethu earned took his tally to 179 points, well clear of second-placed Hari Krishnan Rajagopal (145) who in turn is 39 ahead of Anish Shetty, with just one more race to be run on Sunday.

Arun Muthukrishnan took the honours in the other support race, the TVS Apache 200 (Open) where Sivanesan, who finished third behind Anand Kumar, has already clinched the title.

The results (Provisional):

SuperSports 600cc – Race 1 (16 Laps): 1. Md Zaqhwan Zaidi (Malaysia, Honda) (27:20.721); 2. Taiga Hada (Japan, Honda) (27:21.347); 3. Yuki Ito (Japan, Yamaha) (27:21.710).

Asia Production 250cc – Race 1 (12 Laps): 1. Tomoyoshi Koyama (Japan, Honda) (22:07.059); 2. Anupab Sarmoon (Thailand, Yamaha) (22:07.176); 3. Galang Hendra Pratama (Indonesia, Yamaha) (22:11.328).

Underbone 150cc – Race 1 (10 Laps): 1. Fakhrusy Syakirin Rostam (Malaysia, Honda) (19:14.180); 2. Md Haziq Md Fairues (Malaysia, Yamaha) (19:14.358); 3. Azroy Hakeem Anuar (Malaysia, Honda) (19:14.432).

Support Races (MMSC One-Make Championship): Honda CBR 250 (Open) – Race 1 (10 Laps): 1. Deepak Ravikumar (Chennai) (20:31.867); 2. Anish D Shetty (Hubballi) (20:33.699); 3. Hari Krishnan Rajagopal (Chennai) (20:33.916).

TVS Apache 200 (Open) – Race 1 (10 Laps): 1. Arun Muthukrishnan (Chennai) (22:07.866); 2. Anand Kumar S (Chennai) (22:08.311); 3. Sivanesan S (Chennai) (22:08.401).
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Akash
 
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Update

Galang Hendra Pratama (centre), winner of the AP250cc race, flanked by second-placed Tomoyoshi K.JPG

Yuki Ito (centre), winner of the SuperSports 600cc race, flanked by second-placed Md Zaqhwan Zai.JPG

Chennai, September 24: Yuki Ito from Japan came up with a mature ride to snatch a fine win in the premier SuperSports 600cc class as the fifth round of the Asia Road Racing Championship, hosted by the Madras Motor Sports Club, concluded at the MMRT track here on Sunday.

After chasing front-runner Md Zaqhwan Zaidi (Malaysia, Honda) winner of the first race on Saturday, for much of the 14 laps, Ito, astride a Yamaha, finally made his move in the 12th to ease into the lead and never looked back. Zaidi hung on to his second place while Japan’s Taiga Hada (Honda) finished third.

Championship leader Malaysian Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman’s wretched weekend after his high-side crash during Friday’s practice session, continued as he ended the race in 12th.. More significantly, he slipped to fourth in the championship while Zaidi jumped to top spot, followed by Hada and Ito, who are tied on points.

India’s Shankar Sarath Kumar (Honda), though putting in an improved performance in terms of lap time, finished 13th.

Earlier, Indonesian Galang Hendra Pratama (Yamaha) hung on grimly to his lead to win the Asia Production 250cc race ahead of two Japanese, Saturday’s first race winner Tomoyoshi Koyama (Honda) and Takehiro Yamamoto (Honda).

The race, declared “wet” following showers, was hard-fought and the track conditions were quite treacherous, but Pratama, after getting ahead of the field, controlled the pace to score a comfortable victory.

The lone Indian entry in this category, Rajiv Sethu, retired after five laps following a crash that followed an off-track excursion in slippery conditions.

For the second day running, Malaysians occupied all the three podium spots in the Underbone 150cc class with Azroy Hakeem Anuar holding off Md Akid Aziz and Md Haziq Md Fairues with less than a second separating the trio.

In the two MMSC One-Make Championship support races, which were of academic interest since the titles were already sealed, Ranchi’s Amit Richard Topno topped the Honda CBR 250 (Open) category while Sivanesan S took the honours in the TVS Apache 200 (Open) race.

The results (Provisional):

SuperSports 600cc – Race 2 (14 Laps): 1. Yuki Ito (Japan, Yamaha) (23:55.967); 2. Md Zaqhwan Zaidi (Malaysia, Honda) (23:56.832); 3. Taiga Hada (Japan, Honda) (24:04.372).

Asia Production 250cc – Race 2 (10 Laps – wet race): 1.Galang Hendra Pratama (Indonesia, Yamaha) (19:47.359); 2. Tomoyoshi Koyama (Japan, Honda) (19:48.264); 3. Takehiro Yamamoto (Honda, Japan) (19:56.097).

Underbone 150cc – Race 2 (7 Laps): 1. Azroy Hakeem Anuar (Malaysia, Honda) (13:29.043); 2. Md Akid Aziz (Malaysia, Yamaha) (13:29.175); 3. Md Haziq Md Fairues (Malaysia, Yamaha) (13:29.598).

Support Races (MMSC One-Make Championship): Honda CBR 250 (Open) – Race 2 (10 Laps): 1. Amit Richard Topno (Ranchi) (20:29.001); 2. Hari Krishnan Rajagopal (Chennai) (20:29.301); 3. Deepak Ravikumar (Chennai) (20:29.327).

TVS Apache 200 (Open) – Race 2 (10 Laps): 1. . Sivanesan S (Chennai) (22:10.020); 2. Arun Muthukrishnan (Chennai) (22:10.448); 3. Yashas RL (Bengaluru) (22:10.455).
Regards

Akash
 
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