After an incident at Turn 10 on Lap 1 of the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup race on Saturday, Indonesian rider Afridza Munandar sadly passed away, with Race 1 Red Flagged immediately and subsequently cancelled.
Following the incident, Talent Promotion Director Alberto Puig gathered the IATC riders to ask how they would like to proceed – cancel further track action for the weekend or have Race 2 take place.
Every rider voted to race on Sunday, with Race 2 therefore going ahead, and held in memory of Afridza Munandar, with a minute of silence observed in remembrance of Munandar on the grid. The decision was also made to honour him by retiring his number, 4, from the ATC.
Syarifuddin Azman won the final race of the season in Race 2 of the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup at Sepang International Circuit, putting the Malaysian flag the top step of the podium on home turf.
The man he beat to it was Sho Nishimura, who took second place after a race-long duel and secured himself the title of 2019 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup Champion as key rival Takuma Matsuyama crashed out early.
Third place saw Indonesian Adenanta Putra emerge from a huge battle to take an emotional podium as the riders went racing in memory of Afridza Munandar.
Off the line it was Nishumira who got the best initial start, but Azman was the latest on the brakes as the Malaysian sliced through to take the holeshot. That left Nishimura in second and Matsuyama shuffled down to third, but the first drama hit before the end of the lap.
Locked on to the back of Nishimura, Matsuyama looked like a man on a mission before it suddenly all went wrong, the number 11 overcooking it and sliding out of third – as well as likely ending his chances at lifting the Cup.
Nishimura and Azman disappeared into the distance in an impressive duel, the Malaysian more than able to keep the pace of one of the eventual Cup winner. More than that, he was also able to attack and held the lead heading onto the final lap – before Nishimura struck back at Turn 1.
It didn’t last long. A few corners later the Malaysian swept back around into the lead, and that left Nishimura with the work to do. As Azman stretched his legs even further in the lead, the number 3 machine in second instead started looking behind him.
And for Azman, that was enough to reward his impressive ride with a first win of the year. Nishimura’s second, meanwhile, was enough to reward him the title of 2019 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup Champion.
The mammoth fight for third was won by Putra as he fended off fellow Indonesian Herjun Firdaus, with Australian Jacob Roulstone impressing in fifth. A number of riders fell out that fight after some drama at the final corner though, with Tatchakorn Buasri, Shoki Igarashi, Harrison Voight and Kanta Hamada all failing to finish.
Sixth went the way of Piyawat Patoomyos as he got the better of Hildhan Kusuma, with Warit Thongnoppakun taking eighth and the last of that big fight for the podium to finish. Luke Power and Kadir Erbay duelled it out to complete the top ten in that order.
Nishumura takes the crown and Matsuyama is the runner up after a close season of competition in the IATC, with the two Japanese riders having had a big share of the wins between them.
We complete the year thinking of and racing for the late Afridza Munandar, who was confirmed as classified third overall after an emotional season finale. His award was collected by mechanic Daniel Parrado in his memory.
Takuma Matsuyama and Sho Nishimura have split the wins in the Asia Talent Cup at Motegi over the weekend, with Race 1 winner Matsuyama now leading the standings by 12-points, from Nishimura on 157, with both Japanese riders making the most of their home track advantage.
Harrison Voight led the Australians in Race 1 with a ninth place finish, while Jacob Roulstone and Luke Power did not finish, with Roulstone retiring and Power crashing. A turn-around in Race 2 saw Voight not finish, with Roulstone top Aussie in tenth, and Luke Power 16th. Voight crashed out on the final lap in Race 2.
Takuma Matsuyama suffered a fractured wrist on Friday at Motegi, but that didn’t stop the Japanese rider converting pole position into an incredible win on Saturday afternoon. He extends his points lead to 25, now ahead of Afridza Munandar as the Indonesian took second and Sho Nishimura suffered a costly crash out of contention. Syarifuddin Azman completed the podium to keep his run of form rolling in another impressive race.
It was Matsuyama who kept P1 from pole, the number 11 blasting away from the line and already able to pull out a couple of bike lengths from the off. Azman was in hot pursuit, however, as he managed to put himself in charge of the chase, with the fight for third remaining a freight train early on.
Little by little, however, the chasing pack would reign the two in, as Azman managed to reign in Matsuyama too. Then it became a classic group battle at the front, with the top ten covered by just over a second and a half and the gaps a constant concertina.
As the final laps appeared in sight though, it was down to a key group of six in the fight for the podium – Matsuyama, Munandar, Azman, Thai rider Tatchakorn Buasri, Shoki Igarashi and Nishimura. Drama hit on the penultimate lap for Nishimura, however, as the number 3 suddenly tagged the rear tyre of Munandar ahead of him and went down. That left Matsuyama with an open goal, and despite his fractured wrist, the number 11 would emerge victorious nonetheless.
Keeping calm and collected at the front, the points leader defended to perfection around the final two corners to keep the lead and blast towards the line ahead – nailing the exit too and no one able to get close as he crossed the line nearly two tenths clear. That gives him a 25-point lead ahead of Munandar as the Indonesian came second, narrowly escaping Azman on the drag to the line.
Buasri just missed out as he crossed the line in fourth, with Igarashi completing the top five as the last of the lead group, taking some good points after his dramatic antics in Buriram.
Warit Thongnoppakun was sixth and the first of those on the chase although the Thai rider cut the gap to a few tenths, heading Herjun Firdaus over the line. Wildcard Kanta Hamada impressed in P8, ahead of a solid race for Australian Harrison Voight. Wildcard Shota Kiuchi completed the top ten.
Abdul Mutaqim and Piyawat Patoomyos took P11 and P12, ahead of Nishimura as the title challenger was able to remount and score a smattering of points. Hildhan Kusuma and Shinji Ogo locked out both the scorers and the finishers.
Jacob Roulstone pulled into the pits to retire, Luke Power crashed out and Adenanta Putra stacked it early on – likely taking himself out of the Championship hunt in the process. He also took out an unlucky Rei Wakamatsu, who suffered a broken collarbone.
Sho Nishimura is back in business! The Japanese rider has had a tougher time of it since the summer break but he came out swinging in Race 2 at the Twin Ring Motegi to take an authoritative win.
With key rival Takuma Matsuyama only taking fifth after a last lap wobble, that closes the standings right up as Matsuyama’s lead is now back down to just 12 points. Completing the podium were Thai rider Tatchakorn Buasri and home hero Shoki Igarashi, with both able to just pull ahead of a close drag to the line to take rostrum finishes.
Off the line it was Matsuyama who took the holeshot from pole, although the number 11 had more company in Race 2 as Nishimura made a blinding getaway and was able to almost get alongside his compatriot into Turn 1. Matsuyama held firm, however, and another classic IATC group battle began in earnest.
Matsuyama led first, Syarifuddin Azman in pursuit, and Buasri was a firm presence at the front mid-race. It was only in the latter laps that Nishimura really started to put the hammer down, the eventual winner crossing the line in the top three in each of the last five laps…
In those last five laps, it was down to a five rider battle, with Harrison Voight just losing touch with the fight for the front. And it remained five, but the last lap would be a dramatic decider for one man at least.
Matsuyama was right in the fight to take the win, but a sudden moment for the number 11 saw him plummet back from the group, and it looked like it was all over as Buasri vs Nishimura vs Igarashi vs Azman raged on. But the points leader wasn’t for giving up and he dug deep despite his injury, able to tag back on to the quartet by the time the final few corners were in sight. Would he be able to move forward?
By then, Nishimura had struck for the lead with a truly stunning move around the outside of Buasri; the Japanese rider inch perfect to take over in P1. And from there, he defended to perfection too – closing the door around the final two corners and able to stay ahead on the blast to the line. In the scuffle just behind, it was Matsuyama who just got shuffled back out of contention, crossing the line in fifth as the three men ahead of him went toe-to-toe towards the line.
Buasri was the man who won the slipstream contest, taking second just ahead of Igarashi. Azman, after three consecutive podiums, just missed out in fourth.
Behind Matsuyama’s Iron Man ride to fifth despite his wrist, it was an impressive performance from wildcard Shota Kiuchi to take P6, with Harrison Voight taking a tumble on the final lap and out of the race.
Then came the second group, headed by title challenger Afridza Munandar in P7 as a gaggle of riders all crossed the line within a second. They were Munandar, Adenanta Putra, Warit Thongnoppakun, Jacob Roulstone, wildcard Kanta Hamada, Herjun Firdaus and Piyawat Patoomyos – all the way down to P13. Hildhan Kusuma and Shinji Ogo completed the points.
That’s it from a race weekend of two halves at Motegi – or certainly of two riders. After another stunning showdown, there’s now only a single round remaining as Sepang International Circuit hosts the final two races in a couple of weeks – and it’s only 12 points in it. Everything will once again get decided in Malaysia, so don’t miss it and keep up to date with the Selection Event for next season that takes place just before the finale, too!
After a long summer break the Asia Talent Cup returned in Buriram, Thailand for Round 4 of the championship, with two races held over the weekend, marking the beginning of the second-half of the season. Engines fired up for the first time since July at the Thai venue before the Cup heads to Motegi on the way to the season finale at Sepang… with everything to race for!
Sho Nishimura arrived as the man in charge in the standings, with the Japanese youngster on 115-points at the top – 18 clear of his nearest challenger, Indonesian Afridza Munandar. Then there was another gap of 14 points back to Adenanta Putra and Takuma Matsuyama.
A crash in Race 1 for Nishimura ensured that lead was immediately under threat, with Putra receiving a ride-through penalty, allowing Matsuyama to take a clear Race 1 win, with drama ending the podium charge of three riders in the final corner.
Matsuyama went on repeat his performance in Race 2, this time under pressure from Syarifuddin Azman and Afridza Munandar, who would complete the podium and it all coming down to the last corner. The result leaves Takuma Matsuyama with a four-point lead over Sho Nishimura, with Munandar a further 16-points in arears.
Aussie Jacob Roulstone put in a strong effort to claim 6-5 results, while Harrison Voight was a DNF in Race 1 and penalised for Race 2 having to start from pitlane, but still ending the race in the points, in 15th.
Takuma Matsuyama took a commanding win in Race 1 of the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup at Buriram, pulling clear of the chasing pack – and the drama – to cross the line over three seconds clear for his first win of the season. Herjun Firdaus and Syarifuddin Azman completed the rostrum for their first podiums too, with final corner drama taking three riders out the podium fight…
The front row got fairly equal starts to blast down to Turn 1 in unison, but drama just off the front grabbed everyone’s attention as points leader Sho Nishimura lost it and skittled out, taking a couple of riders with him. And there would be plenty more drama later, but Matsuyama was already far clear of it and from there on out, the Japanese rider only stretched his advantage.
The fight for second raged throughout the race, however. Firdaus, Azman, Tatchakorn Buasri, polesitter Afridza Munandar, Shoki Igarashi, Adenanta Putra and Idil Bin Mahadi all battled it out, with the first to drop from the group proving Putra as he was given a ride through for a jump start. And then there were six…
As the laps ticked down, it seemed Buasri and Munandar had the form but it wasn’t to be. As Matsuyama crossed the line in the clear, the fight for second approached the final corner and Igarashi then tried to force his way through – and lost the front, taking several riders with him. That left Firdaus and Azman coming through to complete the podium. Igarashi was given a back of the grid start for Race 2 as a result.
The man who crossed the line fourth, Bin Mahadi, also received a penalty – a time penalty the equivalent to a ride through – and is classified eighth, bumping home hero Piyawat Patoomyos up to P4, just ahead of compatriot wildcard Buapa Thurakij. Jacob Roulstone and Ryosuke Bando were next up ahead of Bin Mahadi, with Putra fighting back to ninth and Warit Thongnoppakun to tenth after he suffered contact.
Kadir Erbay took 11th ahead of Nishimura, with Rei Wakamatsu having fought back to ahead of the points leader but then demoted a place for overtaking under yellows at the final corner. A penalty from Race 1 also saw Harrison Voight start from pitlane for causing a collision with Thongnoppakun.
It was home hero Tatchakorn Buasri who stormed to the holeshot off the front row in Race 2, the Thai rider taking over as he did in Race 1 and Munandar, especially, one to lose out. Matusyama slotted into second and flashbacks from Saturday must have immediately started for many on the grid, but number 11 wasn’t bolting off on Sunday.
Instead, the race was a classic freight train with the lead swapping and changing, and a lot less drama than the attrition of Race 1. Matsuyama spent plenty time at the head of the race, but the Japanese rider just didn’t seem quite able to pull the pin – although his key rival, Sho Nishimura wasn’t having the easiest race of it as he got beaten up in the group, pushed down outside the top five.
Eventually, however, Matsuyama got his chance as the squabble for second allowed him to make a break for it with eight laps to go. Was this it? The gap went up to over half a second and kept on climbing…
With four laps to go though, Azman was on a charge. Breaking free from the group battle, he was able to close the leader down – and brought some company. It was therefore a quartet heading over the line for the final lap, with Matsuyama facing Azman, Buasri and Munandar down for the win and of course, it went down to the final corner.
Buasri was a little too far back but both Azman and Munandar attacked Matsuyama, one either side, but the Japanese rider held firm and kept the perfect line around the corner, exiting ahead and slicing away and over the line to do the double. Azman took second and Munandar third, with Buasri heading wide as he also tried to get involved. The home hero was forced to settle for fourth.
Aussie Jacob Roulstone got the better of former leader Nishimura in the end, the Australian putting in another stellar performance on Saturday to complete the top five, as behind Nishimura, but by just a tenth, came Adenanta Putra.
“Really proud of myself this weekend at round 4 of Asia Talent Cup. It’s been tough to get to this point but today it feels great. Free practices went well with both sessions at 10th and qualifying a bit disappointing at 15th. Race 1 was full of drama but I was holding 10th place when 3 went down at the front on the last corner allowing me to claim 7th. A further rider was penalized so I managed 6th! But race 2 I worked hard for it and battled up the front right to the end and grabbed 5th place. My best ride and result all season. Thank you Mum for being here, Steve Nagle for all his help, Colin Stoner for his support, dad and Ashley back home and all the people who have supported me and said hi over the weekend. Also Thank you to Joan my mechanic and all the Asia Talent Cup team.”
Thai riders Warit Thongnoppakun and Piyawat Patoomyos took P8 and P9 on home soil on Sunday, with Shoki Igarashi completing the top ten to bounce back from his back of the grid penalty. Herjun Firdaus couldn’t repeat his Race 1 form, taking P11 ahead of Idil Bin Mahadi, Ryosuke Bando, Rei Wakamatsu and Australian Harrison Voight, who took the final point despite his penalty of starting from pitlane.
That’s it from Buriram, and now it’s next stop Motegi…home turf for a good portion of the grid, and the two men at the top of the standings. Last year it was all about Matsuyama, can Nishimura flip the form book in 2019? Find out in two weeks.
Round 3 of the Asia Talent Cup saw Sho Nishimura claim the Race 1 win from Afridza Munandar and Takuma Matsuyama, with young Aussies Harrison Voight 13th, Luke Power 16th and Jacob Roulstone 18th.
In Race 2 it was Afridza Munandar who claimed the race win from Adenanta Putra and Warit Thongnoppakun. Harrison Voight took fourth, with Jacob Roulstone inside the top 10 in ninth, and Luke Power 11th.
Asia Talent Cup Race 1
Sho Nishimura has extended his lead in the standings after a dramatic Race 1 at Sepang International Circuit, with the first showdown of the weekend cut short by a Red Flag after a mutliple-rider incident with five laps to go. Indonesian Afridza Munandar and Japanese rider Takuma Matsuyama, who remains second in the Championship, completed the podium.
It was Shoki Igarashi who took the holeshot from third on the grid, slotting into the lead ahead of Matsuyama as polesitter Nishimura lost out slightly off the line. But it wouldn’t stay that way for long as the number 11 machine of Matsuyama soon attacked and took the lead, initially then pushing to try and break away but Nishimura able to pull him back in. And so it became a group of four fighting at the front, with Munandar up in the mix.
Warit Thongnoppakun was on the chase, however, with the Thai rider managing to chip away at the gap and join the foursome in the lead. Could he get into a podium position and take his second rostrum finish? As it transpired, he wouldn’t get the chance as some serious drama was about to hit the second group.
A multiple-rider crash saw Hildhan Kusuma, Adenanta Putra, Tatchakorn Buasri and Abdul Mutaqim all go down, and soon after the Red Flag was shown, bringing the race to an early end. That meant that last time over the line decided the winner – and it had been close. By an infinitesimal 0.060 the win goes to Nishimura, with the Japanese rider just ahead of Munandar, and Matsuyama completes the podium. Thongnoppakun and Igarashi complete the top five.
Because the results are taken from the last time over the line, it’s Putra classified sixth, ahead of home hero Syarifuddin Azman as the Malaysian put in a top performance on home turf. Herjun Firdaus takes P8, with Hildhan Kusuma and Piyawat Patoomyos completing the top ten.
Buasri and Mutaqim were 11th and 12th and the last two in a tight freight train of seven riders within a few tenths before the key incident. Riders were all ‘ok’ after the crash, although Buasri and Mutaqim were sent for further checks.
Australian Harrison Voight took P13 and some points after a top qualifying, with Ryosuke Bando and second Malaysian Idil Mahadi completing the scorers.
Asia Talent Cup Race 1 Results
Sho Nishimura 18’42.072
Afridza Munandar +0.060
Takuma Matsuyama +0.289
Warit Thongnoppakun +0.544
Shoki Igarashi +0.962
Adenanta Putra +5.506
Syarifuddin Azman +5.552
Herjun Firdaus +5.789
Hildhan Kusuma +5.928
Piyawat Patoomyos +6.159
Tatchakorn Buasri +6.247
Abdul Mutaqim +6.376
Harrison Voight +8.161
Ryosuke Bando +15.990
Muhammad Idil Fitri Bin Mahadi +19.981
Luke Power +23.609
Rei Wakamatsu +23.858
Jacob Roulstone +23.828
Kadir Erbay +51.360
Asia Talent Cup Race 2
Afridza Munandar took a commending second win of the season at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, staying clear of a chaotic fight at the front in the final laps to take home 25 points and take over second in the standings. Compatriot Adenanta Putra followed him home, with Thai rider Warit Thongnoppakun taking his second rostrum of the finish in third after escaping some final corner drama.
Sho Nishimura took the holeshot from pole, but Takuma Matsuyama was quick to attack back and the two headed up a five-rider fight at the front, with Thongnoppakun, Shoki Igarashi and Adenanta Putra in the mix. There was a small gap back to Tatchakorn Buasri on the chase, and eventual winner Afridza Munandar was soon challenging too.
With Matsuyama streaking away at the front, it was Munandar who sliced through to start reeling the number 11 in with a show of intent and he did just that; the freight train at the front then appearing again and 12 riders within 1.8 seconds.
With eight laps to go, big drama hit for Matsuyama. Running off and then making contact with another rider on track, the number 11 fell from the front fight and the initial pacesetter was out. That left Munandar in the lead at the front of the group, with Nishimura in second and home hero Syarifuddin Azman having sliced through into third.
As the group kept chopping and changing and the laps ticked down, however, it was Thongnoppakun who managed to escape the melee to stay with Munandar and the duo began to pull away. Heading onto the final lap, the Indonesian had half a second in his pocket and that would prove a crucial gap.
Although those behind managed to close in, no one could attack Munandar into the final corner – and the final corner was where the attack happened. Azman, gunning for a home podium, tried a move on Nishimura but the Malaysian tagged the back of the Japanese rider, taking them both down and out of podium contention.
Munandar crossed the line in clear air, Thongnoppakun was able to avoid the drama and, despite losing time, made his way back on track to gun it to the line – but he was beaten to it as Adenanta Putra pipped him to the post, the podium decided in dramatic fashion.
Harrison Voight took his best finish yet in fourth after a good weekend for the Australian, ahead of Hildhan Kusuma who completed the top five. Tatchakorn Buasri took P6 ahead of Piyawat Patoomyos, with Abdul Mutaqim crossing the line in eighth.
Jacob Roulstone headed the next group and beat home hero Idil Mahadi to ninth, with Luke Power, Rei Wakamatsu, Kadir Erbay and wildcard Shinji Ogo completing the finishers. Igarashi and Herjun Firdaus suffered DNFs.
It’s a long wait for the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup until the next round alongside MotoGP at Buriram now, but it’s still Sho Nishimura who leads the way despite Day 2 at Sepang not going his way. Who will be strongest when the field return to the fray? Find out in October.
After another incredible season of the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup, which in 2018 saw young Australian Billy Van Eerde take the Title, 2019 is already appearing on the horizon and the calendar and entry list for the sixth season have now been revealed.
Candidates from the Selection Event at Sepang join those who return from 2018, creating another incredible grid of competitors gearing up for six more race weekends in 2019.
Six countries are represented on the provisional entry list: Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey, Australia and Indonesia.
Seven of the youngsters rode in the Cup last season and return, with 14 new faces joining them on the grid.
Aussie youngsters Jacob Roulstone and Harrison Voight are two of the youngest to make it through the selection process while Luke Power also made the final cut after originally being named as a reserve rider.
The first race weekend of the year sees the Cup racing alongside MotoGP at the Grand Prix of Qatar from the 8th to 10th March, and the season begins with a back-to-back bang as the IATC then heads for Buriram in Thailand the weekend after.
The next date is the Cup’s first visit to Sepang International Circuit as they race as part of the Malaysian Superbike Championship from the 14th to 16th June, and then there’s a summer break before the second half of the season kicks off at Buriram alongside MotoGP from the 4th to 6th October.
The Cup then heads for the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan two weeks later, before the season finale once again takes place at Sepang and another exciting season concludes in early November.
Riders for the 2019 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup have been decided at the Selection Event in Malaysia.
The Selection Event to choose the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup riders for next season is now over for another year after taking place at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
Following inscriptions on Tuesday and a day of track action to assess the new crop of hopefuls on Wednesday, eight young riders from across Asia and Oceania have been selected to join the grid– as well as five reserve riders.
Aussie youngsters Jacob Roulstone and Harrison Voight are two of the youngest to make it through the selection process while Luke Power has been named as a reserve rider.
The Selection Event took place largely in the wet at Sepang, but it didn’t put too much of a dampener on proceedings.
Over 90 youngsters were put through their paces throughout the day before the Selection Committee made their final decisions.
The committee, led by Talent Promotion Director Alberto Puig, selected riders from Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Japan to either join the grid next year or be on the reserve list.
Now the grid for next year is decided, it’s time to decide the Champion this season. The 2018 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup will be decided at Sepang this weekend, and young Aussie Billy Van Eerde currently leads the championship by 12-points heading into this weekend’s finale!
SELECTED & RESERVE RIDERS FOR 2019
WEDNESDAY, 31ST OCTOBER 2018 /// SEPANG GO-KART CIRCUIT, MALAYSIA
M IDIL FITRI BIN MAHADI
M SYARIFUDDIN BIN A
HERJUN ATNA FIRDAUS
ABDUL GOFAR MUTAQIM
JACOB JOHN ROULSTONE
HARRISON SAMUEL VOIGHT
MUHAMMAD AIMAN BIN AZMAN
MUHAMMAD HILDHAN KUSUMA
Alberto Puig (Talent Promotion Director):
“It was difficult, especially because of the conditions. It was pouring. We couldn’t do our full intended program of testing but we did what we could. Out of all this I think we’ve selected the riders who were faster today, and the reserve riders. It’s the first time we’ve had rain like this during the selection at Sepang. But we did it and we’re happy, we have some young riders of different nationalities. It’s also important that no one is injured although we had some crashes, everyone is ok. So for one more edition, job completed.
“We always try and find young riders because they always have more potential to learn and grow. We hope we’ve got some potential selected here. They understand they have an important opportunity but at the beginning it will be difficult for them, like it has been for all the riders who have come to race in the Cup. But as always, the guys who are strongest and have the most passion will make it on this road.”