Entering the 7th and final round of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) 2019 at Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Idemitsu Honda Racing India team’s rider-duo of Rajiv Sethu and Senthil Kumar finished 3 practice sessions on a strong note. Rajiv was his fastest ever in free practice sessions at Chang circuit. With a gap of 2:045 seconds from Indonesian lead rider Rafid Topan, who clocked fastest at 1:53:039, Rajiv clocked his best practice lap time of 1:55:084.
19-year-old rookie rider Senthil too showed consistent improvement. Finishing 21st on the grid, Senthil recorded his personal best practice lap time of 1:56:942. Gaining confidence in the 6 rounds of 2019 ARRC, Senthil has significantly reduced his gap with the lead rider to 3.903 sec today compared to the 4.628-sec gap during a previous round at the same venue.
With the AP250 title still up for grabs in the last round, the heat was on as the Top 15 riders fought within a 2:045 seconds gap. Ruling today’s combined practice from the front was Indonesian Rafid Topan Sucipto (1:53:039) followed by A.P Honda Racing team’s Thai rider duo of Piyawat Patoomyos (1:53:157) and Muklada Sarapuech (1:53:194). Honda’s Indian duo is fighting with 30 of Asia’s top riders from 8 countries. But the Indian challengers are confident after their positive track outing today. While Rajiv aims for a top 10 finish; Senthil targets a top 15 finish tomorrow at Buriram.
Honda Racing India’s 19-year-old young gun Kritik Habib returned to Chang circuit for the Thailand Talent Cup (Honda’s development program for Asian riders run on Moto3 machine NSF250R). Challenging 19 riders, Karnataka boy Kritik Habib recorded 1:52:949 best lap time in FP1.
Talking about the team’s performance, Mr Prabhu Nagaraj, Vice President – Brand and Communications, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. said, “Our boys’ performance has improved in the practice sessions. A much more seasoned rider, Rajiv entered each practice session with a plan to improve on his past mistakes and closed in top 15. Senthil too is now in the 1:56 sec time. With the next 2 races deciding the overall standing in the AP 250 championship, every rider is giving his best and top 15 are riding in a 2-second gap. Between Round 3 practice at Chang circuit and today, both our riders are much faster, strategically taking calculated risks. We are confident of a strong grid position in the qualifier. The fight will be for Top 10.”