Nov 23, 2013
© 2014, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
From a press release
issued by PETRONAS Asia Road Racing Championship
PETRONAS FIM Asia Road Racing 600cc SuperSport Championship: Race winner Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman
(center), runner-up Katsuaki Fujiwara (left) and third-place finisher Zamri Baba (right).
AZLAN BRINGS IT HOME
After twelve long years, the SuperSports 600cc Asian trophy returns to Malaysian shores carried proudly by Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman.
Since the class was introduced in 2000, the title was first won by Malaysian rider Chia Tuck Cheong in 2000 and 2001 before the trophy headed to Japan with Toshiyuki Hamaguchi who kept the title for five consecutive years. The Asian honours then went to Thailand with Decha Kraisart in 2007 and was won again by Hamaguchi in 2008. Thai riders Chalermpol Polamai and Decha Kraisart wrested the trophy in 2009 and 2010 respectively. A year later, the trophy was again brought back to Japan by Katsuaki Fujiwara in 2011 followed by Ryuichi Kiyonari in 2012.
Azlan returned to the 2013 PETRONAS Asia Road Racing Championship for a final joust at the Losail International Circuit, bristling with confidence after six rounds of Moto2 battles in the MotoGP. A successful qualifying session saw the MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda rider parking his bike first on the grid.
Azlan used his prime starting position to good effect as he charged to his first double win of the season. In Race 1, Azlan seized the lead at the first lap and proceeded to storm to the finish line, leaving Zamri Baba, Broc Parkes, and Katsuaki Fujiwara fighting for second position. The Malaysian rider completed the 15 lap race with a time of 32:20.579s, 7.964s ahead of second placed Fujiwara and third placed Zamri Baba.
The race pace was faster in Race 2 which was delayed due to a crash by Md Farid Badrul Hisham during the warm-up lap. The race was subsequently reduced to 13 laps.
After his win in Race 1, Azlan only needed 0.5 points to seal the championship and could have taken it easy by just completing the race within the points. Instead, the Malaysian rider duked it out against three determined contenders - Parkes, Fujiwara and Zamri Baba. Parkes, in particular, was extremely strong in the final two laps of the race and came close to preventing Azlan from ending the season on a high note. However, Azlan fought back and pipped the Australian rider to the finish line with a time of 27:56.248s, 0.180s in front.
Behind the duelling leaders, Fujiwara muscled past Zamri Baba and finished third with a time of 27:59.440s.
The newly crowned champion went on to reflect on the race, “This weekend was extremely challenging and the crew worked really hard to produce the best bike possible.”
“We got lucky in Race 1 because I was able to escape the tussle between Fujiwara, Zamri, Broc and Yudhistira but Race 2 was a bit more dramatic. My rivals were so much faster and was a bit more aggressive than usual which is understandable because it is the final race of the season.”
“I had to work really hard to get ahead of them but towards the end I was sliding all over the place and this was when Broc caught up. By right I should have tone down the pace a notch because going any faster would be very risky but I was not about to let another victory slip away. Fortunately everything went well.”
He went on to add, “All in all, we had a great time at Losail. There was a lot of fighting between the top guys which was very exciting and many thanks to the team, sponsors, family and friends for supporting us. It has been a great year.”
With twelve consecutive podiums to his name, Azlan etches his name as one of the SuperSports 600cc greats with 228 points followed by Fujiwara second and Zamri third, each with 194.5 points and 149.5 points.
Team MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda Racing made it a double celebration as they successfully defended the Team Award in the SuperSports 600cc category. The Honda outfit retained their title with 235.5 points, followed by BEET Kawasaki in second overall with 194.5 points and PETRONAS Hong Leong Yamaha third overall with 166.5 points.
HADI'S DONE IT AGAIN FOR INDONESIA
Indonesia's supremacy in the Underbone 115cc title is unchallenged as Hadi Wijaya ended his 2013 campaign on an ultimate high note when he secured the 2013 Underbone 115cc crown. Hadi rides into the history books as the first rider to win the Asian Underbone title three times.
Needing only 20 more points to clinch the deal, the R9 Racing Team rider claimed the honours when he came in third for Race 1 at the Losail Circuit. He timed 19’15.910s behind winner, Mohd Affendi Rosli (Harian Metro Y-TEQ SCK Honda Racing) with 19’15.810s while Thailand’s Vorapong Malahuan (Honda NJT Racing) sprung a surprise when he finished second with 19’15.885s.
Hadi then capped off a memorable campaign when he claimed his third victory for the season in Race 2 with his trademark last minute dash, crossing the finish line with 19’11.578s, a mere 0.006 seconds margin ahead of Mohd Amirul Ariff Musa in second place with 19’11.584s. Completing the top three was teenager, Kazuki Masaki, 19’11.618s.
Bagging 41 points, Hadi locked in the rider standings with 220 points followed by Ahmad Afif second with 171 points and Affendi third, 130 points.
However, this season, the rider's trophy and the team trophy in the Underbone 115cc class was split. While the rider's title will be returning home to Indonesia with Hadi, the team title has landed into the hands of team Harian Metro Y-TEQ SCK Honda with 235 points. Hadi's team, R9 Racing, ended the season in second overall with 221 points followed by PETRONAS Hong Leong Yamaha in third overall with 171 points.
TOP EIGHT ASIA DREAM CUP RIDERS PREPARE FOR MOTO3 TEST
Hiroki Ono could not have asked for a better way to sign off the season when he recorded a double victory in the final leg of the 2013 Asia Dream Cup season at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar on November 23, 2013.
Ono who had already secured the overall title in Japan last September completed Race 1 first within 18’21.668s followed by Malaysian, Mohd Fitri Ashraf Razali second and Indonesian rider, Gerry Salim third, 18’26.087s and 18’26.163s respectively.
Race 2 would have been the showdown between Fitri and Gerry who by then, were tied on points with 171 points each. However, the Japanese rider went on to dominate Race 2, crossing the finish line first within 18’18.514s. In second place, Reitoku Kurogi finally showed what he's got with a total race time of 18'18.549s. Behind Kurogi, Gerry Salim who was hobbling on crutches all weekend long showed that he could still be a demon on the bike when he crossed the finish line in third place with 18'18.551s.
Hauling 50 points from this leg, Ono extends his championship lead to 278 points while Gerry successfully beat out Fitri to second overall with 187 points. Fitri completed Race 2 in fifth place had to settle for third overall with 182 points.
With the dust of the competition finally settling at the Losail Circuit, the top eight riders of the class will be preparing for their Moto3 test the following day (November 24). The confirmed names are Hiroki Ono, Gerry Salim, Fitri Ashraf Razali, Khairul Idham Pawi, Md Dwi Satria, Nakarin Atiratphuvapat, Kanatat Jaiman and Chinese-Taipei rider Chuang An Yu.