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Sep 2, 2013

Nakatomi Wins Both PETRONAS FIM Asia Road Racing Championship 600cc SuperSport Races At Suzuka

PETRONAS FIM Asia Road Racing Championship: 600cc Supersport Race One winner Shinichi Nakatomi (center), runner-up Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman (left) and third-place finisher Katsuaki Fujiwara (right).

Former World SuperSports rider Shinichi Nakatomi ruled the Suzuka Circuit with an unbeatable performance in both Race 1 and Race 2 of the SuperSports 600cc category as Round 4 of the 2013 PETRONAS Asia Road Racing Championship came to a successful close on September 1.

In Race 1, the Japanese ace stole the holeshot from Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman but unable to pull away, was forced to contend with repeated assaults from both Azlan and Katsuaki Fujiwara for the first seven laps of the race.

The stage was set for a dramatic race until a heavy downpour inundated the track on Lap 5. The wet tarmac and slippery conditions caused a series of crashes from the riders in midfield and resulted in the red flag coming out on Lap 7. Due to the severity of the situation, the remaining laps were cancelled and the riders awarded half championship points based on their results on the seventh lap.

Nakatomi became the first wildcard rider in ARRC history to win the SuperSports 600cc class, with a total race time of 16:09.599s. Championship leader Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman finished second with 16:09.852s while Katsuaki Fujiwara finally ended a three-round podium drought by taking third place with 16:09.987s.

Unwilling to spend another round dicing with two aggressive riders, Nakatomi upped his pace in Race 2. Trailing in sixth after a bad start, the wildcard rider was able to claw his way up to the front and overtook the leading Fujiwara on Lap 5. Nakatomi hung on to the lead for the remainder of the race, carving out a 4.680s margin ahead of Fujiwara and Azlan who were tangled up in a battle for P2.

Unlike Race 1 which was interrupted by uncertain weather conditions, Race 2 in the SuperSports 600cc class ran its full course, ending with Nakatomi taking the chequered flag within a time of 29:11.274. Fujiwara finished second with 29:15.954 while Azlan Shah was relegated to third with 29:16.186s.

"The win in Race 1 was pure luck because I think it would have been even tougher for me to maintain the position in the wet. Both Fujiwara and Azlan are tough competitors to go up against and I am happy to have ended my first appearance in the Asian series with a convincing win," said Nakatomi.

Meanwhile, Azlan, with an unbroken string of podium finishes since the start of the season, continues to lead the SuperSports 600cc class with a total of 146 points. Fujiwara climbs up to second overall with 108.5 points and Zamri Baba also goes up to third overall with 94.5 points. Injured Tamada, unable to race during the Suzuka weekend, slipped down to 65 points.

SuperSports 600cc Race 1 Results (7 Laps)
1. Shinichi Nakatomi (JPN), 16:09.599; 2. Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman (MAS), 16:09.852; 3. Katsuaki Fujiwara (JPN), 16:09.987; 4. Ryuta Kobayashi (JPN), 16:11.660; 5. Yuki Ito (JPN), 16:12.052

SuperSports 600cc Race 2 Results
1. Shinichi Nakatomi (JPN), 29'11.274; 2. Katsuaki Fujiwara (JPN), 29'15.954; 3. Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman (MAS), 29'16.186; 4. Ryuta Kobayashi (JPN), 29'18.478; 5. Yuki Ito (JPN), 29'25.575

SuperSports 600cc Standings
1. Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman (MAS), 146 pts; 2. Katsuaki Fujiwara (JPN), 108.5 pts; 3. Zamri Baba (MAS), 94.5 pts; 4. Makoto Tamada (JPN), 88.5 pts; 5. Yuki Ito (JPN), 65 pts


Indonesian rider Hadi Wijaya is back in the running for a record third title in the Underbone 115cc category. A season filled with podium finishes has yet to yield a single win for the veteran rider until the Asian championship finally makes its way to the Suzuka Circuit for the fourth leg on September 1.

The new playground brought Hadi his first pole position in 2013 and culminated with a double podium in the races - third in Race 1 and finally a win in Race 2.

Malaysian Mohd Amirul Ariff Musa was consistently the first rider across the start/finish line throughout the 14 lap race. Rain midway through the race caused a number of crashes, taking out wildcard rider Takazumi Tamada, Ahmad Afif Amran who suffered engine failure, Harlan Fadhillah and Vorapong Malahuan.

Thankfully, the rain was short-lived and Hadi Wijaya tried to charge into the lead in the final lap but was out-sprinted by Mohd Affendi Rosli and Mohd Amirul Ariff Musa. The two Malaysians tag-teamed their way to the top of the podium with Affendi in first place with 15:19.032s and Amirul second with 15:19.243s. Hadi took third place with 15:19.254s, his sixth podium finish in the season so far.

The competition was even more intense in Race 2 with 11 bikes battling for first place. The drama started early in the race when Race 1 winners Affendi and Amirul took each other out in the first lap, narrowly missing Harlan Fadhillah in the incident.

The large number of bikes in the leading group brought a number of new riders to the sharp end of the group. Apart from the usual names at the front of the pack, Race 2 saw even less experienced riders such as Mohd Adib Rosley, Vorapong Malahuan and Tengku Amirul Haffiruddin taking shots at leading the race.

But in the end, experience won out over aggression as Hadi ramped up his final charge in the last lap. Hadi's momentum took him to his first win of the season with 15:07.392s followed by Ahmad Afif Amran second with 15:07.442 and Ferlando Herdian third with 15:19.665.

Hadi now leads the championship with 144 points followed by Ahmad Afif Amran who is 20 points adrift and Norizman Ismail third overall with 104 points.

Underbone 115cc Race 1 Results
1. Mohd Affendi Rosli (MAS), 15:19.032; 2. Mohd Amirul Ariff Musa (MAS), 15:19.243; 3. Hadi Wijaya (INA), 15:19.254; 4. Norizman Ismail (MAS), 15:19.478; 5. Ferlando Herdian (INA), 15:19.665

Underbone 115cc Race 2 Results
1. Hadi Wijaya (INA), 15:07.392; 2. Ahmad Afif Amran (MAS), 15:07.442; 3. Harlan Fadhillah (INA), 15:07.674; 4. Gupita Kresna (INA), 15:07.710; 5. Vorapong Malahuan (THA), 15:07.798

Underbone 115cc Standings
1. Hadi Wijaya (INA), 144 pts, 2. Ahmad Afif Amran (MAS), 124 pts; 3. Norizman Ismail (MAS), 104 pts; 4. Harlan Fadhillah (INA), 96 pts; 5. Gupita Kresna Wardhana (INA), 83 pts


Yet another double win at Round 4 of the 2013 PETRONAS Asia Road Racing Championship in Suzuka, Japan brought Hiroki Ono one step closer to winning his second consecutive Asia Dream Cup title.

Rain in Race 1 and Race 2 brought no adverse effects to Ono's consistent and neat riding. The Japanese rider won the first race within a time of 16:49.096s in the wet, leading by 1.174s to second placed Mohd Fitri Ashraf Razali. Gerry Salim was third with 17:09.149s. In fourth place, Taiwan's Chuang An-Yu posted his best results of the season with 17:09.154s followed by resident Suzuka champion Reitoku Kurogi in fifth place.

Only the second half of Race 2 ran under rainy conditions which allowed Ono to go even faster, completing the 14-lap race within 15:09.134s, 2.990s ahead of the rest.

Interestingly in Race 2, a record number of ten riders were huddled up in the second pack fighting for P2, including Fitri, newcomer Muklada Sarapuech, Nakarin Atiratphuvapat, Gerry, Australian Nicholas Waters, Mohd Dwi Satria, Reitoku Kurogi, Kanatat Jaiman and Chen Yuan Hang.

The intensity of their battle resulted in a crash between Kanatat and Dwi in the last corner of the final lap. Gerry, who had opted to ride safe during the group tussle, capitalized on the incident to race to a photo finish going neck to neck against Nakarin and Fitri. Under the scrutiny of the timekeepers, the second place was awarded to Gerry with a time of 15:12.124s, Nakarin in third with 15:12.155s and a disappointed Fitri fourth with 15:12.165s. Asia Dream Cup's latest addition, Muklada Sarapuech, the only girl in the championship this year, impressed the entire fraternity when she finished fifth with 15:13.579s.

After four rounds, Ono has extended his lead to 195 points and needs only one more win to seal the 2013 title. Gerry goes up to second overall with 117 points and Fitri ranked third with 115 points.

Asia Dream Cup Race 1 Results
1. Hiroki Ono (JPN), 16:49.096; 2. Mohd Fitri Ashraf Razali (MAS), 16:50.270; 3. Gerry Salim (INA), 17:09.149; 4. Chuang An-Yu (CHN-TWN), 17:09.154; 5. Reitoku Kurogi (JPN), 17:10.650

Asia Dream Cup Race 2 Results
1. Hiroki Ono (JPN), 15:09.134; 2. Gerry Salim (INA), 15:12.124; 3. Nakarin Atiratphuvapat (THA), 15:12.155; 4. Mohd Fitri Ashraf Razali (MAS), 15:12.165; 5. Muklada Sarapuech (THA), 15:13.579

Asia Dream Cup Standings
1. Hiroki Ono (JPN), 195 pts; 2. Gerry Salim (INA), 117 pts; 3. Mohd Fitri Ashraf Razali (MAS), 115 pts; 4. Khairul Idham Pawi (MAS), 93 pts; 5. Jakkrit Swangswat (THA), 93 pts