Md Zaqhwan Zaidi Takes Championship Lead with Win/2nd, Taiga Hada 2nd/3rd

Round 5 of the 2017 Asia Road Racing Championship, the Indian Grand Prix, was originally slated to be contested at the Buddh International Circuit, but due to problems with the track, the event was moved to the Madras Motor Race Track in Chennai, rescheduled to September 22 to 24. Although the Chennnai track had not been used since 2013, it had been completely re-surfaced.

For this race, Tatsuya Yamaguchi (AP Honda Racing Thailand) was double-booked with All-Japan Road Racing Championship pre-tests, and after consultation with the team, decided to miss the Indian Grand Prix.

Pole position was taken by Keminth Kubo (Yamaha), followed by the Hondas of Md Zaqhwan Zaidi (MuSASHi Boon Siew Honda Racing) and Taiga Hada (RAMA Honda by NTS T.Pro Ten 10). Once the race began, it was Zaidi who took the holeshot. A heated battle for the lead then ensued, and despite chaos in the early stages with Chalermpol Polamai (Yamaha) crashing, Zaidi managed to stay in front. The front group had Zaidi in the lead, chased by Hada, Yuki Ito (Yamaha) and Kubo, with all riders well within striking distance up to the final lap. Zaidi reached the checkered flag first, with Hada and Ito close behind. Teppei Nagoe (MuSASHi Boon Siew Honda Racing) fought his way through the chasing group to finish 4th, his best result of the season. Ratthapong Wilairot (AP Honda Racing Thailand) was 5th, and Sena Yamada (RAMA Honda by NTS T.Pro Ten 10.) crossed the line in 9th place.

Md Zaqhwan Zaidizoom
Md Zaqhwan Zaidi
Md Zaqhwan Zaidi(#21)、Taiga Hada(#23)

Leading up to Race 2, cloudy conditions that threatened rainfall became a reality, and the race was declared wet. Just as the race was about to start, however, the rain stopped, and the drying surface brought rider after rider off the grid to change their rain tires to slicks. The start was delayed, and the race was reduced from 16 to 14 laps.

Zaidi, off to an impressive start, leads Race 2 with Ito, Hada and Wilairot close behind. The second group has Ahmad Yudhistira (Kawasaki), Nagoe, and Decha Kraisart (Yamaha) fighting for 5th. Mid-race, Wilairot falls leaving Zaidi and Ito to outpace each other, Ito prevailing as the cross the finish line. Zaidi is 2nd, and Hada 3rd for consecutive podiums. Nagoe leads the second group to finish 4th, and Yamada crosses the line in 8th place.

Today’s results give Zaidi the lead in the championship standings, with Hada and Ito on equal points for 3rd. With only 4 points separating the top 3, all eyes will be on the last round to proclaim the riders’ title.

Taiga Hada、Md Zaqhwan Zaidizoom
Taiga Hada、Md Zaqhwan Zaidi
Md Zaqhwan Zaidi: MuSASHi Boon Siew Honda Racing
SS600 Race Results: 1st / 2nd
“I was going for the double since I won Race 1, but my tires weren’t holding up, so I had to conserve them. Once Ito passed me, I tried to retake the lead, but t was too risky, so I decided to settle for 2nd. That still gave me the championship lead, so I’m satisfied with the results.”
Taiga Hada: RAMA Honda by NTS T.Pro Ten 10.
SS600 Race Results: 2nd / 3rd
“It was the first time for me on this track, so I started off expecting it to be difficult, and I had a hard time with improving my lap times. Once I drastically changed the setup leading to Qualifying, however, my times improved, and managed to qualify 3rd. I thought I had a chance to win Race 1, but I got caught up with some back markers, and missed my chance. I was going to have my revenge in Race 2, but the surface was tricky, so I was slow off the mark, lost more time overshooting, and only managed to finish 3rd. I’m not satisfied, but I have an opportunity at winning the championship, so I’ll be putting in a solid performance, to make sure I have no regrets, at the last round.”
Teppei Nagoe: MuSASHi Boon Siew Honda Racing
SS600 Race Results: 4th / 4th
“It was a very educational weekend. It’s always difficult finding the right setup while working out the best racing lines within the three practice sessions. This track, however, has lots of S bends and not too many hard braking points, which is suited to me, so I managed to set up the bike and my riding with each passing practice session. I was even faster in qualifying, securing my first top 10 position. My best lap came when I was riding solo, so I was looking forward to a solid race. I was slow off the mark in Race 1, and I wore the tires too much, so I slowed down in the closing stages. I still managed to keep the lead group in sight, and my best time was about on par with the leader, so it was a good result that would lead into Race 2. Keeping in mind my slow start in Race 1, I was off to a much better start, and conserved my tires in the first half of Race 2, but I couldn’t stick to my best racing lines because of the rain earlier on, so I fell back and finished the race in a similar position to Race 1. The results show my best qualifying and race results to date, but I’m still short of where I want to be. This weekend was very educational, though. I’ll do my best to be on the podium in the last round, and finish the season on a bright note.”
Sena Yamada: RAMA Honda by NTS T.Pro Ten 10.
SS600 Race Results: 9th / 8th
“From Day 1 I couldn’t find the right set up, and couldn’t ride the way I had hoped for. Free practice before Race 2 was a different story, as I managed to improve my lap times after changing the setup. Early in Race 2, I couldn’t pull away from the group, but later on, I improved my pace, finishing in better shape than up to date, which is a good sign for the next race. In the last round I will be aiming for a better finish.”

Tomoyoshi Koyama 1st/2nd, Takehiro Yamamoto 3rd in Race 2

Pole position went to Galang Hendra Pratama (Yamaha), but Tomoyoshi Koyama (RAMA Honda) was a close 2nd, with Takehiro Yamamoto (Supra Studio Honda Ikazuchi Racing Team) 9th on the starting grid.

At the start of Race 1 on Saturday, Koyama, Pratama and Anupab Sarmoon (Yamaha) formed the lead group fighting for supremacy. None of the riders managed to stay ahead for too long until Koyama pulled ahead of Pratama. Sarmoon takes Pratama’s place and closes in on Koyama, but the Japanese rider proves too strong, crossing the finish line for his first AP250 win. Salmoon is next over the line, with Pratama 3rd. Muklada Sarapuech (AP Honda Racing Thailand) conquered the battle for 4th, and Yamamoto finished 9th.

In Race 2 on Sunday, pre-race rain caused mayhem on the starting grid, with riders pitting to change to wet tires. Once the race started, shortened from 12 to 10 laps, it was Pratama who took the holeshot, following closely by Koyama, Yamamoto, and Salmoon. Pratama kept his lead for the entire race, while Koyama’s consistent riding earned him 2nd for consecutive podiums. Yamamoto gouth hard to claim 3rd, and Gerry Salim (Astra Honda Racing Team) was two places behind.

Tomoyoshi Koyamazoom
Tomoyoshi Koyama
Tomoyoshi Koyamazoom
Tomoyoshi Koyama
Tomoyoshi Koyama: RAMA Honda
AP250 Race Results: 1st / 2nd
“Finally! I’ve finally won! I knew I could win today, and everything was smooth from Day1. I fought until the end in Race 2, but I couldn’t catch the leader. I think we did our best in the current conditions, and my ranking is up, so it was a good weekend. Everyone at Honda, all our sponsors, the team staff, and our fans all made this win possible. I’m looking forward to everyone’s continued support in the final round!”
Takehiro Yamamoto:Supra Studio Honda Ikazuchi Racing Team
AP250 Race Results: 9th / 3rd
“In the beginning, I was still trying to recover from the previous race. In Race 2, we decided to change the suspension back to the settings we had in Thailand when we won. The bike was good in the dry, but we had to change to wet settings because of the rain before the race. The bike was set up too well for a wet track, but it was not so good on the drier areas. I’m fast in the wet, so I’m disappointed in finishing 3rd. Our flow isn’t bad now, so I’m aiming for a good race in the final round.”

2017 Asia Road Racing Championship
Round 05: Buddh – India

Supersports 600cc – Race 1 Result
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Md Zaqhwan Zaidi(MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda Racing/Honda)
2 Taiga Hada(RAMA Honda by NTS T.Pro Ten 10/Honda)
3 Yuki Ito(Yamaha Racing/Yamaha)
4 Teppei Nagoe(MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda Racing/Honda)
5 Ratthapong Wilairot(AP Honda Racing Thailand/Honda)
6 Noriyuki Haga(K-Max Racing Team/Yamaha)
8 Irfan Ardiansyah(Astra Honda Racing Team/Honda)
9 Sena Yamada(RAMA Honda by NTS T.Pro Ten 10/Honda)
11 Sittisak Onchawiang(AP Honda Racing Thailand/Honda)
12 Shankar Sarath Kumar(RAMA Honda by NTS T.Pro Ten 10/Honda)
Supersports 600cc – Race 2 Result
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Yuki Ito(Yamaha Racing/Yamaha)
2 Md Zaqhwan Zaidi(MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda Racing/Honda)
3 Taiga Hada(RAMA Honda by NTS T.Pro Ten 10/Honda)
4 Teppei Nagoe(MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda Racing/Honda)
5 Decha Kraisart(Yamaha Thailand Racing Team/Yamaha)
6 Chalermpol Polamai(Yamaha Thailand Racing Team/Yamaha)
7 Sittisak Onchawiang(AP Honda Racing Thailand/Honda)
8 Sena Yamada(RAMA Honda by NTS T.Pro Ten 10/Honda)
11 Irfan Ardiansyah(Astra Honda Racing Team/Honda)
13 Shankar Sarath Kumar(RAMA Honda by NTS T.Pro Ten 10/Honda)
14 Ratthapong Wilairot(AP Honda Racing Thailand/Honda)
Asia Production 250cc – Race 1 Result
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Tomoyoshi Koyama(RAMA Honda/Honda)
2 Anupab Sarmoon(YAMAHA Thailand Racing TEAM/Yamaha)
3 Galang Hendra Pratama(Yamaha Racing Indonesia/Yamaha)
4 Muklada Sarapuech(AP Honda Racing Thailand/Honda)
5 Reynaldo Chrisantho Ratukore(Yamaha Racing Indonesia/Yamaha)
6 Rheza Danica Ahrens(Astra Honda Racing Team/Honda)
7 Vorapong Malahuan(AP Honda Racing Thailand/Honda)
9 Takehiro Yamamoto(Supra Studio Honda Ikazuchi Racing Team/Honda)
19 Sethu Rajiv(RAMA Honda/Honda)
20 Bui Duy Thong(Yuzy Honda Vietnam Racing Team/Honda)
22 Gerry Salim(Astra Honda Racing Team/Honda)
Asia Production 250cc – Race 2 Result
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Galang Hendra Pratama(Yamaha Racing Indonesia/Yamaha)
2 Tomoyoshi Koyama(RAMA Honda/Honda)
3 Takehiro Yamamoto(Supra Studio Honda Ikazuchi Racing Team/Honda)
4 Anupab Sarmoon(YAMAHA Thailand Racing TEAM/Yamaha)
5 Gerry Salim(Astra Honda Racing Team/Honda)
6 Muklada Sarapuech(AP Honda Racing Thailand/Honda)
7 Rheza Danica Ahrens(Astra Honda Racing Team/Honda)
10 Vorapong Malahuan(AP Honda Racing Thailand/Honda)
19 Bui Duy Thong(Yuzy Honda Vietnam Racing Team/Honda)
RT Sethu Rajiv(RAMA Honda/Honda)
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