The penultimate round of the SUZUKI ASIAN CHALLENGE series at Sentul International Circuit in Bogor, Indonesia provided close and exciting racing in the popular single-platform championship which uses the new Suzuki GSX-R150.
Race 1 saw pole sitter #78 Punchana Kulrojchalalai (Thailand) take the holeshot as the lead changed at almost every corner of the race, with the riders going four-wide and five-wide on the straights. The race continued like that until the final lap when #27 Nur Alfath Sam Ahmad (Indonesia) and #1 Jefri Tosema (Indonesia) crashed out as Punchana crossed the finish line on top, making it his third consecutive win since the previous round at Suzuka Circuit in Japan.
The second day of racing at the fourth round of the series, which attracted more-than 3000 Suzuki Riding Club members and 2000 machines from all over Indonesia, was just as exciting with multiple lead changes every lap and almost the whole field bunched together in one pack. This continued until the final lap where #33 Ahamed Kadai Yaseen (India), #43 Edward Faulkhead (Australia), #22 Eane Jaye Solacito Sobretodo (Philippines), and #76 Chepy Armansyah Suryadi (Indonesia) were all at the front, but it was reigning 2016 SAC Champion Tosema who took the lead in the end. Tosema pulled away from the pack with two corners to go, and won the race, making it the first win for Team Indonesia this season. Current points leader, #78 Punchana Kulrojchalalai (Thailand) and #17 Tetsuya Fujita (Japan) made great moves at the final corner, and finished second and third respectively to fill the podium.
Punchana has now extended his lead in the point standings by 33 points, with the winner decided at the final round in Thailand on December 1-3rd.
#78 Punchana Kulrojchalalai – Race 1 Winner:
“I have been at Sentul once before, so I was thinking of how to set up the race before I came here. Throughout the practice sessions, I needed more acceleration from the exit of the final corner to the finish line, so I had my mechanic concentrate on a setup to solve that problem. Everyone was fast during the race, so the position changed and changed throughout the race. I tried to run away from the pack, but soon found out that that would be difficult, so I pulled back a few times to find my right line and move. I plan to do the same in Race 2 tomorrow.”
#1 Jefri Tosema – Race 2 Winner:
“I am very happy that I was able to win, despite the fact that I injured my finger from the fall I had in Race 1. This is the first time I have ever ridden the GSX-R150, but it was a lot of fun to ride it, and I think it suits me more. We have a lot of fast riders this year. Punchana was one of the fast ones, and he reminded of my rival last year, Rozaliman. It was a good experience for me to race with them.”
Yukio Kagayama – SAC General Manager:
“Lots of Suzuki fans came to support the riders again this year, and I am sure that they motivated the riders well. I am happy to see that the riders showed us a clean and fair, but a very exciting race. It proved that our riders have a lot of skills. I would like to thank Suzuki Indonesia and the Suzuki supporters for making this week a very successful one. There is only one more round to go this season, and I will prepare the best environment for the riders.”
Shunji Yatsushiro – Rider Coach:
“I am happy that the riders learned from their mistakes in Race 1, and showed us fair fight in Race 2 without any incidents. Jefri was injured in Race 1, but showed us all a good race and won Race 2. A lot of Suzuki fans came to cheer the riders and I could feel the Asian power today. Punchana did what he can do, and extended his lead in the Championship and Fujita recovered from his mistakes in Race 1 and made the podium, so I am happy for them too.”