After the solid practice yesterday where Rajiv closed at ever highest position of 7 th and the 18-year old rookie Senthil too zoomed to 17 th position in the AP250 class, the solo Indian team IDEMITSU Honda Racing India today celebrated its best ever performance in FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC).
Today’s race made India proud and recorded many firsts. It is the first time that both riders of India’s solo team scored points at Asia’s toughest road race championship in same race. Rajiv recorded the best ever finish by Indian rider in AP250 class of ARRC at 11 th spot (earlier bhighest 13 th ). The teen rider Senthil too showed the power of Young India and became the first Indian rookie to win 2 points with 14 th finish in his debut ARRC race itself! With this, Honda’s Indian team has made its best ever season start with tally of 7 points in the first race itself.
Sharing an overview on the solo Indian team’s performance today, Prabhu Nagaraj, Vice President – Brand and Communications, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. said, “2019 is the year when Indian motorsport is coming of age. Technically, our CBR250RR bikes are tweaked to be more competitive with improved cowl giving added advantage to our boys. Additionally, our boys have the strength of entire team and coach behind them. Right from the first race of the 2019 ARRC season, our solo Indian team is emerging as a serious challenger. Making India proud, Rajiv gave his best ever ARRC performance and added 5 points for Indian team. Senthil the face of new, confident and aggressive young Indian riders finished in to 14 and added another 2 points to IDEMITSU Honda Racing India kitty. Charged with today’s results and learnings, we are challenging ourselves to better our results ever more in tomorrow’s race 2.”
Indian team gives best ever performance in AP 250 (race 1) class of ARRC: In lap 1 itself, Rajiv made a good start from his 14 th position. While climbed to top bunch but had to drop back due to other rider crash. But his perseverance paid off mid-race. Overtaking 2 riders in lap 4 and maintaining this till the last 8 th lap, the 21-year old recorded his best ever finish in AP250 class at 11 th position. With this strong finish, Rajiv swooped his highest single race haul of 5 points in race 1 of 2019 ARRC season itself.
Senthil showed the might of confident young Indian riders in his debut race itself. Starting 17 th on the grid of 25 riders, Senthil made a good start and overtook 3 riders in lap 1 itself. From there till the end of race, Senthil was battling it out with Taipei rider Chiou Ke-Lung and closed at 14 th position with total lap time of 20:17:513. With this, Senthil is now the youngest Indian rider and the first ever Indian rookie to score a point in Asia Road Racing Championship.
With 2 crashes in lap 1 itself, the afternoon AP 250 Race 1 saw battle start from the word go. The fight went on till the chequered flag of 8 lap race with Indonesian riders wrapping up the first 6 positions finish. Overtaking to win race 1 just 100 meters short of the finish line was Lucky Hendriansya of Astra Honda (19:34:655), with Andy coming 2 nd (19:34:839) and Irfan Ardiansyah also from Astra Honda completing the podium (19:38:376).
Satisfied with his performance today and charged up for tomorrow, Honda’s front-runner rider Rajiv Sethu said, “After my best ever qualifier finish at 14 th earlier today, I was charged up even more. I made a great start and overtook 9 riders to reach 5 th spot in first lap itself. But just then the 2 riders before me crashed and I had to go back to save myself. Yet I could gain 3 spots and finish 11 th which is the best ever for me in my 3 years of ARRC. Today, I feel great but tomorrow I will fight to finish in top 10.”
Taking on his debut season with fresh energy and confidence, the 18 year rookie rider Senthil Kumar said, “Its been a fantastic day of learning for me. The competition is very tough here. I started strong and overtook 3 riders in first lap itself. Thereafter the battle was to hold my front and I could successfully do that. Personally, I am both humbled to earn points for the only Indian team in my debut ARRC race itself and am excited to do even better in race 2 tomorrow.”
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