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May 19, 2013

Baba, Kamaruzaman Win FIM Asia SuperSport 600cc Races At Sentul

AZLAN, ZAMRI: ONE EACH AT SENTUL

Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman and Mohd Zamri Baba were both winners at Round 2 of the 2013 PETRONAS Asia Road Racing Championship which took place at the Sentul International Circuit on May 19, 2013. Both Malaysian riders picked up a win a piece from Race 1 and Race 2 respectively.

In Race 1, polesitter Azlan stole the holeshot but immediately came under pressure from Zamri and M. Fadli Immammuddin. The three riders were neck-to-neck for the first half of the 16-lap race. Zamri took the lead on Lap 5 before giving way to Fadli on Lap 6. Azlan fought back to take the front on Lap 7 but again lost out to Fadli who hung on to P1 from Laps 8 to 10. Behind the three riders, Katsuaki Fujiwara tried to break through but repeatedly found himself forced back into P4. Azlan finally managed to gain a hold on P1 on Lap 11, and sustained his pace all the way through to the finish line to take his second win of the season with 24:21.773s.

Zamri Baba cruised home in second place with 24:23.264s while M. Fadli delighted his home crowd with a third place finish after he stopped the clock at 24:25.344s.

In Race 2, Fadli looked even more determined than ever as he challenged Azlan for the lead in the first four laps of the race. In his zeal to solidify his position, Fadli ran wide on Lap 4, slowing the group down, and allowing Fujiwara a window of opportunity to join the front group. Azlan and Zamri also took the chance to ride up to the front of the pack with Azlan leading for the duration of the 16-lap race.

Just as Azlan was looking set to win Race 2, Zamri Baba shocked Azlan when he dove in beside Azlan at the last corner and carried the momentum right through to the finish line. Zamri won with a total time of 24:21.910s, 0.278s ahead of Azlan who finished second with 24:22.188s. Fadli was again third with 24:22.712s. Makoto Tamada placed fourth with 24:28.862s while Fujiwara who was suffering from a gearbox malfunction, finished fifth with 24:30.335.

"Throughout the race, I felt that Azlan was riding a bit strangely. His lines were a bit wide and when I saw a window of opportunity in the last lap, I simply gunned for it," said a delighted Zamri.

The tie between Azlan and Fujiwara at the top of the SuperSports 600cc standings is now effectively broken with Azlan leading by 90 points. Fujiwara is second overall with 69 points and Zamri third with 61 points.


DOUBLE WIN FOR NORIZMAN IN SENTUL

Ever since the Underbone 115cc class was introduced into the Asia Road Racing Championship in 2004, no foreign rider has ever won the race at the Sentul International Circuit in Indonesia. For the past nine seasons, the host country riders have always reigned supreme on their home track. But when Norizman Ismail cracked the door open, he did so in a big way.

Norizman scored a double victory in two dramatic Underbone 115cc races that allowed him to carve out the niche as the first non-Indonesian rider to win at the Sentul International Circuit. In Race 1, Norizman was the early leader in the race although as per usual in the Underbone class, different riders were leading at different corners of the race. The veteran Malaysian rider kept pace with the front group as the place-swapping continued until the final lap when he crossed the finish line 0.036s ahead of the grid. Norizman claimed his first victory with a time of 19:51.841s. Indonesian riders Harlan Fadhillah and Hadi Wijaya had to be content with second and third place with times of 19:51.877s and 19:51.888s respectively.

Race 2 was red-flagged in the final lap following a heavy crash by Kazuki Masaki at Turn 1. Consequently, the results were taken from Lap 9 which saw Norizman being declared winner for Race 2 with a time of 17:56.264s followed by Masaki second with 17:56.300s and Harlan Fadhillah third with 17:56.570s.

"It was a very challenging race throughout with a lot of riders trying to out-wit each other. Masaki tried to overtake me on Turn 1 during the final lap and I allowed him through. But he was pushing too hard which resulted in his crash," described Norizman.

Hadi Wijaya is still leading the Underbone 115cc class with 67 points. Norizman Ismail climbs up to second with 65 points while Ahmad Afif Amran drops down to third overall with 59 points.

KHAIRUL IDHAM ENDS ONO'S WINNING STREAK

In Race 1 of the Asia Dream Cup category, Hiroki Ono's winning streak was finally interrupted by a different challenger. Surprisingly, this was achieved by the youngest rider on the ADC grid, 15-year-old Khairul Idham Pawi served up a stunning surprise at the finish line when he broke out of the slipstream to win his maiden Asia Dream Cup race.

The 10-lap race saw the bulk of the grid (14 riders) racing together in a single block with the lead being swapped from one rider to another at each corner. Dominant riders were Hiroki Ono, Jakkrit Swangswat, and of course the home riders Dwi Satria and Gerry Salim.

Khairul was tucked in deep within the front group and did not even try to lead the pack until the final lap when the young rider began threading his way up to the front. A final push at the last corner saw him break out of the group's slipstream and propelled him to his first win with a time of 18:58.115s.

"The race was very physical and close. I opted to play it safe in the first eight laps and often preferred to hang back within the front group. I'm glad the gamble paid off because it feel great to beat a talented rider like Hiroki Ono," said Khairul.

Ono finished second, 0.031s behind Khairul with a total time of 18:58.146s followed by Swangswat who was third with 18:58.201s. Dwi Satria and Fitri Ashraf Razali missed out on the podiums but managed to make it into the top five in fourth and fifth places respectively.

In Race 2, Ono was unlikely to allow the same thing to happen again. The race was dominated mostly by Gerry Salim but Ono employed the same slip-streaming technique effectively and chalked up his third win of the season with a time of 18:57.964s.

Gerry Salim was also on his guard for such tactics and managed to keep his position in the front, finishing second with 18:57.966s while Nakarin Atiratphuvapat completed the winning circle in third place with 18:58.057.

"I was trying hard for the win in Race 1 but was not aware that there were so many riders behind me. I am very happy to have succeeded in taking the podium during the second race," said Gerry.

Only two rounds into the season and Hiroki Ono has already built up a big lead in the championship standings. Ono is now 38 points ahead of the rest of the grid with a total of 95 points to his name. Fitri is ranked second overall with 57 points and Khairul Idham Pawi third with 55 points. Podium finishers in Sentul, Gerry Salim and Jakkrit Swangswat are now ranked fourth and fifth overall respectively with 51 points and 47 points.