IDEMITSU ASIA TALENT CUP 2017
Home hero Ryusei Yamanaka took over the lead in the 2017 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup standings in Race 1 at the Twin Ring Motegi, joined on the podium by Azroy Anuar of Malaysia and Turkish rider Deniz Öncü after a five-lap sprint followed a Red Flag in the initial race start. With dry conditions initially, some spots of rain made the first Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup race of the weekend a challenging one.
It had been Haruki Noguchi and Can Öncü away at the front in the original running, before the Japanese rider – and previous points leader – crashed out and the Turkish rider was unable to avoid him. The DNF saw Noguchi lose the lead in the standings as Deniz Öncü took over at the head of the race, before worsening conditions saw several more riders go down – including new race leader Deniz Öncü. The Red Flag then came out, with a new race distance of five laps announced and the grid decided based on the standings on Lap 7 – meaning Deniz Öncü would start from pole if he managed to return to pitlane. He did, and lined up for another shot at taking both the win and the lead in the standings.
But it wasn’t to be. Over the shortened five-lap distance, it was Yamanaka who was able to pull a small gap to take his first win of the season and the Championship lead, with Azroy Anuar taking second. There was late drama for a number of riders near the front, including Yuki Kunii, who ran off out the lead, and Gerry Salim, who crashed out on the penultimate lap. Koji Hirama, who looked set for a podium finish, crashed out on the last lap in some heartbreak for the Japanese rider on home soil.
High rates of attrition meant the race had eight finishers over the line, with Yamanaka, Anuar and Öncü followed home by Indonesian Irfan Ardiansyah, Japanese riders Genki Nakajima, Kai Saito and Takuto Suzuki, and Syairul Yuslie Bin Suhaimi of Malaysia, who took P8.
Race 2 will see a second chance for some or another shot at extending the advantage for others, with Motegi ready for another assault on Sunday.
Yuki Kunii bounced back from a crash out of contention in Race 1 at the Twin Ring Motegi to take the win on Sunday, blasting away from the field in the wet and able to cross the line in clear air. Genki Nakajima impressed to take his second podium of the season in P2, with Deniz Öncü of Turkey crossing the line in third – and taking over the points lead in the Championship.
Kunii got the best start off the line and led into Turn 1, the Japanese youngster then not looking back as he built up a gap of almost five seconds in a wet weather masterclass. Race 1 winner Ryusei Yamanaka was an early faller out of contention, with Can Öncü another to go down in the wet conditions. It was Azroy Anuar first chasing down Kunii, but the Malaysian then also crashed out of contention – all big players in the standings, and leaving everything open ahead of the final round at Sepang in two weeks.
Haruki Noguchi was a big winner after his Race 1 crash saw him fall to fourth in the points on Saturday, crossing the line in P4 in Race 2 and back up into second in the standings, behind Deniz Öncü. Behind the Japanese rider, Indonesians Gerry Salim and Lucky Hendriansya completed the top six, with Koki Suzuki in P7 on home turf. Thai rider Kritchaporn Kaewsonthi took eighth ahead of Irfan Ardiansyah, with another Japanese rider completing the top ten – Takuto Suzuki.
Deniz Öncü now leads by 10 points over Noguchi, with Yamanaka only one point further back from his compatriot – and Anuar 21 points off the lead.
|8||Syairul Yuslie Bin Suhaimi(Malaysia)|
|DNF||Can Alexsander Öncü(Turkey)|
|DNF||Muhammad Erfin Firmansyah(Indonesia)|
|9||Muhammad Erfin Firmansyah(Indonesia)|
|11||Syairul Yuslie Bin Suhaimi(Malaysia)|
|DNF||Can Alexsander Öncü(Turkey)|