Participants in this year’s pre-season Buriram tests. Riders from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Turkey compete in the 2017 season.

-Promising young Asian riders rising to the challenge, dreaming of taking on the world-

With the rise in popularity of motor sports in Asia, a Series to nurture Asian riders to challenge the world is born. Young Japanese riders also became part of this movement, with a clear path to world class racing.

Riders waiting to enter the track on their IDEMITSU colored Honda NSF250Rs. All tires are supplied by Dunlop. Arai Helmet provides the helmets, and Alpinestars provides the rider gear such as racing wear.

Riders waiting to enter the track on their IDEMITSU colored Honda NSF250Rs. All tires are supplied by Dunlop. Arai Helmet provides the helmets, and Alpinestars provides the rider gear such as racing wear.

The Asia Talent Cup, started in 2014 to nurture Asian riders for the world stage, gained IDEMITSU as its title sponsor this year, forming the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup (IATC). In its quest “From Asia to The World,” the series’ inaugural champion Kaito Toba and 2nd year winner Ayumu Sasaki join the Moto3 class this year, demonstrating the movement’s success in creating a path from Asia to the world stage.

Asian riders from ages 13 to 21 can participate in the IATC. For the 2017 season, over 600 applications were received from 19 countries, from which 152 riders were chosen to participate in the final selection process in Sepang, Malaysia in October last year. 17 riders remained, and will the 5 riders from the 2016 group, a total of 22 riders were entered for the 2017 season. 16 Japanese riders participated in Sepang, of which Takuto Suzuki, Koji Hirama, Haruki Noguchi, Kai Saito, Makishi Hattori and Koki Suzuki were accepted. With Yuki Kunii and Ryusei Yamanaka from the 2016 group, a total of 8 Japanese riders will participate in 2017.

The IATC began as a series under DORNA, also the administrating body for MotoGP. All riders compete on Honda NSF250R racing bikes. Former MotoGP rider Alberto Puig de la Rosa acts as Series Director, and with his solid reputation as a rider trainer, he will supervise riders aiming for the world stage.

Outstanding riders from the IATC gain the opportunity to race in the Moto3 Junior World Championship, in which Toba and Sasaki competed for the Asia Talent Team. Kazuki Masaki and Ai Ogura are following in Toba and Sasaki’s footsteps, and will be joined by Yuki Kunii.

With identical Honda bikes and Dunlop tires for every rider, race winners are determined by skill alone. And winners know that in the IATC, their next stage is waiting for them.

IDEMITSU ASIA TALENTCUP Round01 Thailand Chang International Circuit March 10-12

Turkish 13 Year Old Deniz Oncu Takes the Double

Round 1 of the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup was contested at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand. Two days of official tests were conducted the previous week at the same track, and 24 riders including two wildcard Thai riders competed. Pole-winner was the 14-year-old Japanese Yuki Kunii, in his second year in the series.

Race 1 was a closely fought battle between 8 riders. 13-year-old Turkish Deniz Oncu, starting 8th on the grid, took an impressive first victory, with 16-year-old Malaysian Azroy Anuar finishing a mere .533s behind in 2nd, and 15-year-old Japanese Ryusei Yamanaka .601s behind for 3rd.

In Race 2 the following day, the battle for victory was once again fought between 8 riders, Oncu once again victorious. Yamanaka was 2nd, and 15-year-old Japanese Haruki Noguchi, who had been 6th in Race 1, was 3rd for his first IATC podium.

Both races in Round 1 were closely fought between 8 or so riders.

Both races in Round 1 were closely fought between 8 or so riders.

  • Both races in Round 1 were closely fought between 8 or so riders.

    Both races in Round 1 were closely fought between 8 or so riders.

  • In the pits in Round 1. All equipment and gear are identical, guaranteeing no rider has an advantage

    In the pits in Round 1. All equipment and gear are identical, guaranteeing no rider has an advantage

  • Deniz Oncu wins Race 1. Azroy Anuar is victorious in Race 2, with Ryusei Yamanaka 3rd

    Deniz Oncu wins Race 1. Azroy Anuar is victorious in Race 2, with Ryusei Yamanaka 3rd

※Click on images to enlarge.

Round1 Thailand RaceResult

Previous Champions

2014 Kaito Toba

2014 Kaito Toba

2015 Ayumu Sasaki

2015 Ayumu Sasaki

2016 Somkiat Chantra

2016 Somkiat Chantra

The Asia Talent Cup (ATC) has produced three champions. The first year’s champion, Kaito Toba, moved on in 2015 to the Moto3 Junior World Championship and Redbull MotoGP Rookies Cup. Ayumu Sasaki, also a 2014 contender, stayed in and won the ATC in 2015, while competing in the Rookies Cup. In 2016, both Toba and Sasaki entered the Moto3 Junior World Championship and Rookies Cup, resulting in Toba winning the title in Junior Moto3, and Sasaki taking the Rookies Cup title, securing a place in this year’s Moto3 class, thanks to the ATC being managed by Dorna, which also operates MotoGP racing. MotoGP racers are prepared and gain experience for world grand prix racing, by competing on the same tracks, in the Moto3 Junior class and the Rookies Cup. The same path is available not only for champions, but for riders who clearly demonstrate the potential as first class riders, by winning the ATC for example. In the 2016 ATC, Thai rider Somkiat Chantra wins the title, and in 2017, has a place in the Moto3 Junior World Championship.

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