Date wins second Zhuhai race to extend standings lead
Japanese rider Yuta Date was the winner of the second Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup race of the weekend at the Zhuhai circuit in China, winning a nine-lap contest which saw a multiple rider crash.
Date crossed the line first, just ahead of compatriots and rivals Kunimine and Sasaki, with the leading five riders all finishing within 0.4s of each other.
After some overnight rain an additional 15 minute Warm Up took place to give the riders a better feel for the conditions, though the track was dry by the time of the race start. However there was a big crash on lap two of the race with six riders involved – Japanese pair Yoshida and Kitami, in addition to Malaysian quartet Azman, Ezzariq, Rasol and Bahauddin. The red flag was shown and the race was reduced from 15 to 9 laps.
In the restarted contest Kaito Toba - the winner of Saturday’s race – took an early lead, with Date, Kunimine, Sasaki and Mizuno following him closely. The battle between those five riders continued throughout the shortened race, with Toba eventually unable to maintain the lead and dropping out of the podium positions late on.
Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup Director Alberto Puig commented, “Luckily the crash was not as bad as we first feared. The race was shorter and not as fast as yesterday, with a bigger leading group and a new rider on the podium in Kunimine. It is always good to see new faces at the front. After the morning rain it was unclear which tyres use, so we opted for slicks and we saw that it was the right choice. It is another race done and now we look ahead to Malaysia.”
Race winner Date stated, “I will be able to have a great holiday from here to Sepang beause of this victory. The most important purpose of this race was making a gap between me and the second rider in general standing, Toba. I was able to do that so I'm very happy! After the first red flag it was very difficult to keep concentration but I managed to control my mind and make a good start to battle in the top group. The fight was not dangerous so I enjoyed it a lot.”
With two wins and two additional podiums in four races Date leads the standings with 86 points, 23 ahead of Toba and 25 in front of Sasaki.
The next Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup race takes place on 21st September in Sepang, the fifth of eight races in the inaugural season of the competition.