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Honda Riders Rajiv and Senthil open 2019 ARRC with a Bang

In Sports
March 09, 2019

A week after announcing its international motorsport plans for 2019, the solo team from India – ‘IDEMITSU Honda Racing India’ is now charging full steam ahead in the first round of Asia’s most prestigious motorsport championship – FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC).

The 2019 season start is setting the mood for the season ahead with 25 riders from 7 nations fighting for podium in the hot and humid Sepang International circuit. The competition in Malaysia is a tough and intense with top 10 riders finishing in just a 2 second gap.

Honda’s solo Indian team turns the heat to full in today’s practice:
After finishing the 2 day pre-season testing yesterday, the team finished today’s 3 practices on a high note. Both the riders of IDEMITSU Honda Racing India team – the experienced 3 rd timer Rajiv Sethu and rookie rider Senthil Kumar in the Asia Production 250cc class consistently showed aggression and results on track. Clocking an impressive best practice lap time of 2:26:858, Rajiv Sethu is now in the top 7 bunch of the race ending todays practice. This is his best ever finish in the Asia Road Racing Championship practice ever. Meanwhile, Senthil is coming under spotlight in his debut racing season itself. Earlier in his pre-test, Senthil clocked 14 th fastest best lap time of 2:29:873. The combined practice result saw Senthil finish at 17 th with his best lap time of 2:30:288.

Sharing an overview on the team performance today, Prabhu Nagaraj, Vice President – Brand and Communications, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. said, “With an aim to develop iconic Indian rider for India and the World, the IDEMITSU Honda Racing India team has returned stronger in 2019. Malaysia is a tricky round as the track is new to both the team and riders who are riding the CBR250RR. But our boys performance in pre-test and today’s practice has been very strong and encouraging. Rajiv’s first time entry in top 7 in practice and Senthil coming in top 17 is great news for the qualifier and race 1 tomorrow. We are now challenge ourselves in top 10 finish this season.”

Leading from the front, young talented Honda rider Rajiv Sethu said, “Malaysia being a new track for me, it took some time to adapt to Sepang. For me, the focus was on working on both bike setting with team and improving my riding style with Koyama san’s expert guidance. The result was my top 7 th finish in combined practice. With the full support of IDEMITSU Honda Racing India team, I am now challenging myself to push more and finish in top 10 tomorrow. I target is to win points tomorrow itself and make India proud.”

Talking on his debut season with fresh energy and confidence, the 18 year rookie rider Senthil Kumar said, “For me, the first day was a big struggle. The machine was new, so was the track and the aggressive riding style of my competition. The hot and humid weather made riding even more physically challenging. But I am happy with my results today. In pre-test, I clocked my fastest lap time of 2:29:873. Today was all about experimenting to improve my technique and riding style. Honda has given me wings to realize my dreams to race at an MotoGP track internationally and I aim to go ahead full steam and finish in top 15 tomorrow.”

Parallely, Honda Group Companies Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA team pulled strong in the inaugural Asia Superbike 1000cc class at the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship 2019 too. The team has recruited top personnel from Honda subsidiaries and other Honda racing teams across the Asia & Oceania region including a race technician from India. Led by former MotoGP racer Makoto Tamada as team manager, the Malaysian rider Zaqhwan Zaidi closed today’s combined ASB1000 practice at 6 th position on the CBR1000RR SP2 racing machine.