ARRC Superbike in-depth season preview

2020 Asia Road Racing Championship

Broc Parkes confirms ARRC campaign
Entries surge for 2020 opener

With Barry Russell


The FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) starts its 25th season on March 5, with more entries and more international attention than at any time since in its history. A total of 80 riders from 12 different countries will contest the seven-round, 14 race-championship.

The introduction of the Asia Superbike (ASB) class in 2019 replaced Supersport 600 as the series flagship. This move attracted European manufacturers for the first time and added a whole new level of racing to the series.

The Asia Superbike class provided close racing in 2019, with a championship battle that went down to the last race of the season between Broc Parkes and ultimate winner, Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman. The contrast in styles and machinery between the top two protagonists made the seven-round, 14-race battle especially entertaining.

ARRC Superbike Broc Parkes Yuki Ito

ARRC Superbike Broc Parkes Yuki Ito

Broc Parkes and Yuki Ito

Broc will again partner Japan’s Yuki Ito in the Yamaha Racing ASEAN squad to face Azlan, as well as a much deeper field of potential champions.

The Malaysian stays with the ONEXOX TKKR SAG BMW with additional motivation on the other side of the garage in the shape of his new team-mate, former European Superstock champion and WSBK rider, Markus Reiterberger.

ARRC Superbike Azlan Shah ASB Champion

ARRC Superbike Azlan Shah ASB Champion

Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman

Third in the 2019 standings was Zaqhwan Zaidi, who made Honda Asia Dream Racing with Showa’s vintage Fireblade go much faster than it should have. This year Zaqhwan will be on the brand-new Honda and carrying the marque’s expectations for the title.

ARRC Superbike Thitipong Warakorn ASB

ARRC Superbike Thitipong Warakorn ASB

Thitipong Warakorn

Kawasaki Thailand’s Thitipong Warakorn, who had his 2019 championship chances curtailed by horrific back injuries, starts the new season fit, determined and leading the charge for Team Green. Katsuake Fujiwara continues as team manager, bringing in rookie Ryusuke Iwato, following his impressive showing in the Japan Superbike (JSB) 1000 class last season.

ARRC Superbike Ryusuke Iwato ARRC

ARRC Superbike Ryusuke Iwato ARRC

Ryusuke Iwato (pictured) joins Thitipong Warakorn with Kawasaki Thailand

Yamaha Thailand’s Apiwat Wongthananon is another frontrunner from the land of smiles. The 2016 AP250 champion earned himself two seasons in the CEV Junior Moto3 World Championship with the VR46 Academy before returning home to partner Ratthapong Wilairot in ASB’s inaugural season.

He got up to speed quickly, qualifying on the front row at The Bend in round two and bothering the men at the front during the early laps. Mastering the YZF R1’s electronics over race distance took a little longer, but he scored a brace of thirds at Buriram in round three and at Sepang in round six.

ARRC Superbike Anuparb Sarmoon Ratthapong Wilairot Apiwat Wonthananon ARRC

ARRC Superbike Anuparb Sarmoon Ratthapong Wilairot Apiwat Wonthananon ARRC

Anuparb Sarmoon, Apiwat Wongthananon & Ratthapong Wilairot who will compete in Supersport

Former Thai superstock champion, the highly rated Anuparb Sarmoon, joins Apiwat in the premier class for 2020, after some impressive CEV Moto2 outings. Ratthapong, meanwhile returns to Supersport 600 as a former champion, having won the title in 2018.

Anuparb could quickly establish himself at the front. Although he is known in ARRC circles as a top AP 250 rider, he is supremely confident on a superbike and fans are in for a treat as they watch him wringing the neck of the YZF R1.

ARRC Superbike Anuparb Sarmoon ARRC

ARRC Superbike Anuparb Sarmoon ARRC

Anuparb Sarmoon

Meanwhile, another AP 250 champion, Indonesia’s Gerry Salim, returns from his CEV Moto2 adventures to partner Zaqhwan in the Honda Asia Dream Racing with Showa squad. Team manager, Makoto Tamada, made no secret of his desire to run two ASB riders and is rewarded accordingly for last season’s results.

ARRC Superbike Gerry Salim Zaqhwan Zaidi

ARRC Superbike Gerry Salim Zaqhwan Zaidi

Zaqhwan Zaidi and Gerry Salim

It will be Gerry’s first campaign on a one-litre machine, so Honda’s management and his legions of Indonesian fans will be watching to see how quickly he can get to grips with the marque’s new flagship superbike.

Staying with Honda, Musashi, a well-known name in ARRC, comes in with a brand new team, Musashi HARC-PRO.HPI.ASIA and one of Japan’s most exciting riders, Ikuhiro Enokido. The 21-year-old finished second in the J-GP2 class of the All Japan Road Race Championship in 2019. The Japanese series is known for producing fast, tough riders and Musashi is no stranger to winning in ARRC, with a fair few fistfuls of Supersport titles already on the shelf.

Ducati Philippines added a great deal more than a touch of glamour to the grid in 2019. The team worked hard to find the right direction for the development of the Panigale and improved results steadily through the season with TJ Alberto finishing 11th in the standings.

The most conspicuous highlight was the sight of Italian wildcard, Frederico Sandi, leading race one at Sepang in round six before dropping back with tyre wear. Good news for the 2020 grid is that Sandi has signed to do the full season in 2020, so his participation is eagerly anticipated.

ARRC Superbike China Racing Team ARRC

ARRC Superbike China Racing Team ARRC

Mazspeedingrods Chieton China Racing Team

The much-anticipated entry of Mazspeedingrods Chieton China Racing Team is likely to be curtailed by travel restrictions following the spread of the nova coronavirus. With a pair of gleaming red BMW S 1000s ready for Ma Sai and Huang Zhi Zhao we can only wait and hope for a fast end to the prevailing global health crisis. The appearance of another Chinese superbike star, Li Zheng Peng, who has signed for Victor Racing Team, also looks likely to be delayed.

The official pre-season test, now less than two weeks away, will provide clues to how the season will pan out. Australian fans can note that a strong showing by Broc in the 2019 test, was followed by third and fifth place finishes, so the Hunter Valley man will be looking to get his 2020 title campaign off to a stronger start and to add to his tally of three ASB race wins. Round two will be at Tailem Bend, May 7-10, and will again be a double bill with ASBK. Last year Broc scored second and first place finishes at his first visit to the track.

Azlan, meanwhile, will be out to continue the winning run that earned him the 2019 championship and to get ahead of his new team-mate. Then there’s Zaqhwan, Thitipong, Apiwat and Anuparb, all with their own markers to put down.

ARRC Superbike Calendar Map

ARRC Superbike Calendar Map

The 2020 ARRC Superbike Calendar ASB Official Entries

ASB Official Entries

2020 Asia Superbike 1000 Entry List

Here’s a look at the final standings in the 2019 Asia Superbike 1000 championship, for reference.

Pos. Rider Nat. Points
1 Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman MAS 238
2 Broc Parkes AUS 225
3 Md Zaqhwan Zaidi MAS 211
4 Apiwat Wongthananon THA 161
5 Yuki Ito JPN 160
6 Thitipong Warokorn THA 139
7 Ratthapong Wilairot THA 116
8 Ahmad Yudhistira INA 83
9 Bryan Staring AUS 79
10 Chaiwichit Nisakul THA 79
11 Timothy Joseph Cua Alberto PHI 69
12 Federico Sandi ITA 40
13 Farid Badrul Hisham MAS 35
14 Kazuma Tsuda JPN 35
15 Shinichi Nakatomi JPN 32
16 Ali Andriansyah Rusmiputro INA 30
17 Jonathan Serrapica SUI 27
18 Li Zheng Peng CHN 15
19 Bastien Mackels BEL 12
20 Huang Zi Zhao CHN 12
21 Mark Aitchison AUS 10
22 Shahrulnizam Ramli MAS 10
23 Masahiro Shinjo JPN 9
24 Yannis Shaw AUS 8
25 K. Rajini Krishnan IND 8
26 Lachlan Epis AUS 6
27 Stephanie Redman AUS 4
28 Robert Daniel Kruger CAN 4
29 Koji Teramoto JPN 2
30 Chen Peng Yuan CHN 1

2020 Asia Road Racing Championship Calendar

  • Pre-Season Test – Sepang International Circuit, MALAYSIA – March 2–4, 2020
  • Round 1 – Sepang International Circuit, MALAYSIA – March 6–8, 2020
  • Round 2 – The Bend Motorsports Park, AUSTRALIA – May 7–10, 2020
  • Round 3 – Suzuka Circuit, JAPAN – June 26–28, 2020
  • Round 4 – Zhuhai International Circuit, CHINA – July 24–26, 2020
  • Round 5 – Chang International Circuit, THAILAND – August 21–23, 2020
  • Round 6 – Sepang International Circuit, MALAYSIA – September 25–27, 2020
  • Round 7 – Chang International Circuit, THAILAND – November 27–29, 2020

Source: MCNews.com.au

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