Masterful race performance by the Indian rider Rajiv Sethu at Sepang International Circuit track earned him and IDEMITSU Honda Racing India team 3 additional points in the second consecutive race of 2019 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC).
With the end of inaugural Malaysia round today, Honda’s solo Indian team has earned double digit points in a single round for the first time. Gaining 10 points in the inaugural round, Honda’s Indian team is now firmly in the Top 6 teams of AP 250 class. 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, “No doubt, it was a tough weekend, but we did good work, and I am proud our team’s efforts too.
After the high of race 1 where both Rajiv and Sethil scored a double whammy, Sunday race was a tough one with as many as 6 crashes. Though Rajiv was caught up in the crash in lap 1 itself, he scripted a quick bounce-back from 23 rd to 13 th . Meanwhile, Senthil crashed out while fighting to secure his 13 th spot. This was disappointing but he’s learning fast and I’m confident that he will come back stronger and wiser. Sepang is just the start of a long season. We have to keep our focus high and aim higher for the next round in Australia now.”
Indian team performance in AP 250 (race 2) class of ARRC:
Sunday’s AP 250 race was one of the toughest ones till date with 6 riders crashing out in the 8 lap race. Trouble ensued for Rajiv right from lap 1. Despite a great start which took him to 5 th spot, Rajiv suffered the collateral damage from the crash of Indonesian rider duo Irfan Ardiansyah and Rafid Topan before him and crashed. Determined to finish the race, Rajiv resumed from back of the pack at 23 rd spot.
Scripting an extraordinary recovery, Rajiv sprang back in ensuing 7 laps to finally cross the chequered line at 13 th . Meanwhile beginners luck evaded young Senthil today. Starting 17 th on the grid, Senthil skillfully avoid the crash in lap 1 and climbed to 13 th position by lap 6. But his strong braking in the tight corner resulted in a low-side and ultimately crash. Senthil’s total point tally at end of round 1 stands at 2 points.
Female power stood out in the AP250 race 2 today with Thailand rider Muklada Sarapaech from A.P Honda Racing Thailand overtaking Andy at the last minute to win the race. Completing the podium was the Indonesian rider Awhin Sanjaya from Astra Honda Racing team.
Having mixed reaction post his performance today, Honda’s front-runner rider Rajiv Sethu said, “This weekend I really gave it my all. Today I was totally focused, as I wanted to be in the top bunch right from the start. While I could do that, but I couldn’t save from Indonesian riders crash before me. My machine had minor problem from the crash impact, but I wanted to finish the race. Yes, I could gain more points for India and my team today but I feel disappointed that I couldn’t close in top 10. Going back to India, the challenge to myself is to achieve this in the April round at Bend Motorsport Park.”
Summing up his debut round performance, the 18 year rookie rider Senthil Kumar said, “Today was a tough day. My target was to better my yesterday’s 14 th finish. By 6 th lap, I had already reached 13 th spot but the miscalculation at the turn led to my crash. As a racer, my target is to do better and eye for top bunch in every race. So yes, today was been a little disappointing but there is a lot of learning in this too.”
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