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Nov 22, 2013

Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman Takes FIM Asia Road Racing 600cc SuperSport Pole Position In Qatar

Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman in action at Losail International Circuit.
AZLAN WINS FOUR WAY TUSSLE FOR POLE POSITION

One Moto2 rider, one former Moto2 wildcard and two former WSBK heavyweights stole the limelight in the SuperSports 600cc qualifying practice during Round 6 of the 2013 PETRONAS FIM Asia Road Racing Championship held at the Losail International Circuit on November 22, 2013.

In an exciting forty minute affair that saw the lap record being broken again and again by the top riders in the premiere class, Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, Mohd Zamri Baba, replacement rider Broc Parkes and Katsuaki Fujiwara engaged in an intense psychological battle as they fought for the final pole position of the season.

With the top four within a second off each other's pace, the last ten minutes of the qualifying took on the intensity of a race. However, Azlan's smart qualifying strategy saw the Malaysian rider delivering the killing blow on the very last lap when he clocked 02:05.379s, roping in his fourth pole position of the 2013 season.

“We had a really tough outing today because Broc and Zamri were exceptionally fast. I had to push myself to the limit just to keep close,” said Azlan.

Fellow Malaysian rider Mohd Zamri Baba will be starting the race from second on the grid with 02:05.580s. Australian rider Broc Parkes will be parking his bike third on the grid with 02:05.781s, living up to his top billings as he kept Katsuaki Fujiwara off the front row.

Fujiwara, who managed 02:05.903s, will be taking off from P4. Fujiwara leads a second row comprising of Yuki Ito and Indonesia's H.A. Yudhistira. Further down the grid, Tomoyoshi Koyama, Satoru Iwata, Md Zaqhwan Zaidi and Ratthapong Wilairot were also listed in the top ten from the SuperSports 600cc qualifying.



GUPITA CREATES NEW LAP RECORD DURING INTERRUPTED UNDERBONE QUALIFIER

Gupita Kresna Wardhana took pole position for the second consecutive year at the Losail International Circuit as the PETRONAS FIM Asia Road Racing Championship wraps up its 2013 season on November 22 and 23, 2013.

After clocking fastest in the first day of practice, Gupita carried his momentum into the qualifying session, posting a new lap record of 02:37.054 on his third lap out. The Indonesian Kawasaki rider had consistently shown strong performance at the Losail Circuit. This will be Gupita's second pole position at the Qatari circuit but it will be his first and only pole of the season.

"This year has been less than satisfactory and that has made me even more hungry for a win in the final round," said Gupita whose best results so far were fourth place finishes in Round 1 (Race 1 and Race 2) and Round 4 (Race 2). "Even though the championship title is out of reach for me, I would like to at least make it into the top five. The prime starting position I had earned would a long way towards fulfilling that goal."

Behind Gupita, championship leader Hadi Wijaya was only 0.068s off the leader's pace, clocking second fastest with 02:37.122s on his fifth lap out.

However, twenty minutes into the qualifying session, the Underbone 115cc rider's momentum was interrupted by a big crash between Malaysian Norizman Ismail and Thai rider Vorapong Malahuan. Both riders walked away unscathed but the incident left a large streak of oil on the track. The qualifying practice was stopped for almost 15 minutes while the race marshalls worked feverishly to clear the track.

By the time qualifying resumed for the Underbone 115cc class, the riders were understandably cautious on the track. With none of the riders posting quick times, the grid position was determined by the laptimes posted in the first half of the session.

As a result, Norizman Ismail was still able to qualify for front row as he had posted third fastest with 02:37.235s prior to his crash.

Malaysian riders Mohd Amirul Ariff Musa (02:37.353s), championship contender Ahmad Afif Amran (02:37.459s) and Japanese rookie Kazuki Masaki (02:37.655s) slotted themselves in to the second row. Mohd Hafieenaz Mohd Ali, Ferlando Herdian, Harlan Fadhillah and Mohd Affendi Rosli made up the rest of the top ten.



FITRI HOPEFUL OF CLIMBING UP THE CHAMPIONSHIP LADDER

Malaysian rider Mohd Fitri Ashraf Razali is becoming increasingly optimistic of his chances to finish second overall in the 2013 Asia Dream Cup title chase after posting second fastest in the class's qualifying session during the final leg of the 2013 PETRONAS FIM Asia Road Racing Championship.

Fitri placed his marker on the front row with the second fastest time of the class, 02:33.189s. Ahead of Fitri, Hiroki Ono was clearly in a class of his own when he took his sixth consecutive pole position of the season with 02:31.685s.

The reason for Fitri's optimism lies seventh on the grid - Gerry Salim who currently occupies the second overall position with 155 points is not performing to his usual standards due to a leg injury sustained during a friendly football (soccer) match. With only four points separating Gerry and Fitri's position in second and third overall, this may prove to be a damaging situation for Gerry.

Meanwhile, Md Dwi Satria clocked third fastest with 02:33.494s. Thai duo Nakarin Atiratphuvapat and Kanatat Jaiman checked in fourth and fifth fastest with times of 02:33.577s and 02:33.675s respectively.

Reitoku Kurogi, Gerry Salim, Nick Waters, Md Jazil Juraimi and Muklada Sarapuech rounded up the top ten in the final qualifying session of the 2013 season.