Tag Archives: Barry Russell

Parkes heads Asia Superbikes despite Azlan’s Thai double

Asia Superbike 1000

It was hard to call ARRC’s new-for-2019 premier class in Thailand. It was the tenth time the series has made the trip to Buriram, but the first time any of Asia’s regular stars had raced a superbike there. On the other hand, Parkes and Staring had no track experience, but vastly more time aboard one-litre machinery. Adding to that, two rounds and four races had seen race wins from four different riders and four different manufacturers.

ARRC Rnd Chang Thai ARRC Broc Parkes Apiwat
Broc Parkes – Asia Superbike – ARRC Round 3

Daytime temperatures were in the early 30s, track temperatures in the early 40s and, while rain threatened on Friday and Saturday, there was nothing to disrupt proceedings.

The mercurial Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, lying second to Parkes in the championship after Round 2, got his green liveried ONEXOX TKKR SAG BMW hooked up nicely in Friday’s free practice to finish the day top on combined times with a best lap of 1:35.518 in FP3.

ARRC Rnd Chang Thai Yamaha Ambient
Chang International Circuit – ARRC Round 3

That was 0.756 faster than Honda Asia Dream Racing’s Zaqhwan Zaidi, who missed the last session when he somersaulted his CBR1000RR SP on the out lap.

ARRC Rnd Chang Thai ARRC Ambient Grid Fisheye
Chang International Circuit – ARRC Round 3

Apiwat Wongthananon, who showed plenty of speed at Tailem Bend, applied his track knowledge to good effect to record 1:36.416, 0.15s better than Broc, who brought his times down progressively in each session. Ahmad Yudhistira, Yuki Ito and Ratthapong Wilairot also recorded times in the 1:36s, while Bryan managed a best time of 1:37.004 to end the day eighth.

ARRC Rnd Chang Thai ARRC Ambient Crowd
Chang International Circuit – ARRC Round 3

Qualifying on Saturday morning went much the same way. Azlan was unable to quite match his best free practice time, crashing in the closing moments, but still took pole with a time of 1:35.790, which edged Yamaha Thailand’s hard charging Apiwat to the middle of the front row by seven thousandths of a second.

ARRC Rnd Chang Thai ARRC Buriram Ambient
Chang International Circuit – ARRC Round 3

Zaqhwan was third on 1:36.062, Parkes improved on his best practice time, recording 1:36.385, which was two hundredths better than team-mate Ito and about the same again in front of Victor Racing’s Ahmad Yudhistira.

ARRC Rnd Chang Thai Bryan Staring Chaiwichit Nisakul
Bryan Staring – Asia Superbike – ARRC Round 3

Bryan got his times into the 1:36s and ended up sandwiched on the third row between Ratthapong and Access Plus Ducati’s TJ Alberto, who was promoted to ninth after Chaiwichit Nisakul crashed and broke his left wrist after recording 1:36.978 early in the session.

Asia Superbike Race 1

Rain clouds gathered overhead and spattered the grid for race one’s 13 laps on Saturday afternoon. The threat of rain faded on the warm-up lap and when the lights went out Apiwat got the best launch from the middle of the front row to lead poleman Azlan first time around, from Zaqhwan, who found himself holding off the three Yamahas of Ito, Yudhistira and Ratthapong and the Kawasaki of Bryan Staring. TJ Alberto, headed the rest of the field.

ARRC Rnd Chang Thai Azlan Apiwat Zaqhwan
Azlan Shah – Asia Superbike – ARRC Round 3

At mid distance Azlan and Apiwat had got around one second clear, only for Zaqhwan to close them back down, bringing Broc Parkes and Yuki Ito with him. There was little to choose between the Malaysian and the Thai at the front, until Apiwat ran wide at turn 12 at the end of lap nine, falling back to fifth, before mounting a recovery.

Zaqhwan made a bid to catch the green BMW, leaving Broc and Ito in a squabble with Apiwat, as the Thai rider fought his way back. At the end Azlan swept to his second win of the season six tenths clear of compatriot, Zaqhwan, while Apiwat got in front of Ito, then Broc, to take third.

Three-and-a-half seconds further back, Ratthapong came through to sixth, holding off Bryan and Yudhistira. TJ came through to ninth ahead of Farid Badrul on the second ONEXOX TKKR SAG BMW, Kazuma Tsuda and Jonathan Serrapica.

ARRC Rnd Chang Thai Bryan Staring Group ARRC Chang
Bryan Staring – Asia Superbike – ARRC Round 3

Asia Superbike Race 2

Lessons learned on Saturday produced a very different race on Sunday, which was run under clear skies and slightly hotter temperatures. Azlan got his BMW away well, from Broc Parkes, Zaqhwan Zaidi and Yuki Ito. Apiwat Wongthananon was slow off the line, but quickly fought his way through to third, as Zaqhwan dropped slightly off the pace.

ARRC Rnd Chang Thai Azlan Shah Race Group
Azlan Shah – Asia Superbike – ARRC Round 3

Broc, then Apiwat got past Azlan. The Australian was unable to break clear, but his Thai and Malaysian challengers were also unable to get past as the race moved into its late stages. The game changed on the final lap as Azlan moved past Apiwat to take second and put Broc under pressure.

ARRC Rnd Chang Thai Azlan Shah ARRC Round
Azlan Shah – Asia Superbike – ARRC Round 3

Apiwat fought back and the three approached Chang’s notorious turn 12 together. Azlan moved to the inside of Parkes, lost the front under braking, picked his BMW back up and scrambled to the line to complete the double a wheel in front of Broc, who was just four thousandths clear of Apiwat.

ARRC Rnd Chang Thai Azlan Shah Broc Parkes Apiwat Wongthananon
Azlan Shah, Broc Parkes, Apiwat Wongthananon – ARRC Round 3, 2019

Zaqhwan held steady to take fourth, a second clear of Ahmad Yudhistira, who did another brilliant job for Victor Racing Team as the top privateer. Yuki Ito, who went back after a promising start, finished sixth ahead of Bryan for Kawasaki Thailand.

Parkes stays at the top of the standings after another solid weekend’s work, moving up to 105 points, while Azlan’s double brings him to 97 ahead of Zaqhwan on 84.

ARRC Rnd Chang Thai Azlan Shah Broc Parkes Apiwat Podium
Asia Superbike Podium – ARRC Round 3

2019 ARRC Round 3 – Asia Superbike Results

Source: MCNews.com.au

Broc Parkes leads Asia Superbikes after 2-1 at Tailem Bend

2019 Asian Road Racing Championships

With Barry Russell
Images by TWMR Photo, ARRC

The Asia Road Racing Championship had a new look for its second trip to Tailem Bend for the double header with ASBK. The visitors turned up with three classes again, however for 2019 the Underbone 150s were replaced in the schedule by the Asian Superbikes (ASB) which make its debut as ARRC’s premier class this season.

ARRC Rnd Tailem Bend ASB Start
Asia Superbikes replaced the Underbone 150 class at Tailem Bend in 2019

The big bikes were joined by the Supersport 600s, which now has an upper age limit of 25, and the Asia Production 250 class. That meant that many of the senior riders who raced 600s last year have moved up to the litre class, including double champions, Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman and Zaqwan Zaidi, 2019 champion Ratthapong Wilairot, and last year’s Supersport race winner Yuki Ito.

ARRC Rnd Tailem Bend Grid Girls
2019 Asia Road Racing Championship Round 2 – Tailem Bend

They are joined this year by Broc Parkes, who has added a full season in ARRC to his FIM Endurance World Championship duties. By design the rules for ASB 1000 are similar to ASBK’s, with a few key differences.

ARRC Rnd Tailem Bend Honda Racing India
2019 Asia Road Racing Championship Round 2 – Tailem Bend

Exceptions are the larger radiators that are allowed in the Asian series, which runs in several hot countries, like Malaysia and Thailand, and the control tyres that have been specifically developed by Dunlop for ARRC. The similarities make it easy for riders to switch between series during the course of a season.

ARRC Rnd Thitipong Warakorn ASB Race Wheelie ARRC Sepang
Thitipong Warokorn was injured in his wildcard WSBK appearance and had to sit out Round 2

This factor was pivotal for ARRC Round 2. The championship leader after round one, Kawasaki Thailand’s Thitipong Warakorn, was absent with back and chest injuries sustained during his WSBK wildcard appearance at Buriram, when he crashed and was run over by Leon Camier.

ARRC Rnd Tailem Bend Bryan STARING bike
Bryan Staring joined Kawasaki Thailand to fill in for Warakorn, alongside competing ASBK

As the Thai rider goes through the long process of recovering and getting fit, Kawasaki Japan assigned his ride to Bryan Staring who is currently competing the ASBK championship with the BCPerformance Kawasaki team in Kawasaki Superbikes, thereby putting him on double duty for the four-day event.

ARRC Rnd Tailem Bend SS
2019 Asia Road Racing Championship Round 2 – Tailem Bend

Asia Superbike 1000

During practice and qualifying Staring got into a battle for supremacy with his compatriot Broc Parkes, with the two Aussies battling it out.  It was won by the Yamaha rider, who took pole position with a stunning single lap of 1:52.581, more than six tenths clear of Staring.

ARRC Rnd Broc Parkes ASB Grid Race ARRC Sepang Copy
Broc Parkes claimed top qualifying honours

Yamaha Thailand’s former AP 250 champion, Apiwat Wonthananon was third, ahead of Yuki Ito, Zaqwan Zaidi and Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, who completed row two.

Asia Superbike 1000 – Race 1

In warmer conditions than had prevailed for qualifying, it was Staring who got the best drive at the start to lead lap one from Parkes, Zawan and Apiwat. His bold attempt to get away was quickly closed down by Parkes who got past him one lap later and opened up a comfortable gap of this own, which had extended up to 1.5 seconds by the end of lap four. Staring kept a good distance between him and third-placed Zaqwan, who beat off a challenge from Apiwat, Azlan and Yuki Ito.

ARRC Rnd Tailem Bend Parkes Staring
Broc Parkes and Bryan Staring in the lead from the ASB start

The soft rear Dunlop of the leading Yamaha began to lose grip shortly before half of the 12 laps were done, which allowed the Kawasaki stand-in to reel him him back in. Staring made his move on lap eight with a well-planned move that saw him pull out of Parkes’s slipstream as they got to the braking zone at the end of the one kilometer straight and go cleanly past and into the lead at turn one. The Yamaha rider had no answer and Staring opened up a gap that stretched out to more than two seconds at race end.

ARRC Rnd Tailem Bend Staring
Bryan Staring in the lead

Behind the two Australians, Zaqwan forged himself a comfortable slot in third place ahead of Ito, who was coming through strongly after passing Azlan for fourth. Then it went wrong for the Honda Asia Dream pilot, as a mistake on the last lap allowed Ito to seize third, while Zaqwan recovered to claim fourth.

Azlan finished fifth from the Yamaha Thailand pairing of Apiwat and Ratthapong Wilairot, while Ahmad Yudhistira, Chaiwichit and Farid Hisham completed the top ten.

Parkes’s second place lifted him to the top of the standings with a total of 47 points. The absent Thitipong was relegated to second with 40, while Zaqwan was on 38, Azlan on 36 and Ito on 34.

Asia Superbike 1000 – Race 2

Cool, windy conditions returned on Sunday, dropping air temperatures to 15-19 degrees, with track temperatures just a few clicks higher. After losing grip at around half distance while in the lead the day before, Broc Parkes worked with his Yamaha ASEAN Racing team to recalibrate the bike and rider for race two.

ARRC Rnd Tailem Bend Staring Parkes
Staring grabbed an early lead from Parkes in Race 2 but it didn’t last long

Bryan Staring, whose Kawasaki Thailand ZX10RR had performed flawlessly to take the race one win, realised his Australian rival was likely to be much closer in race two and that the regular Asian riders would also be building on what they had learned the day before at The Bend.

Staring had another perfect launch from the middle of the front row to take the lead. Yamaha Thailand’s Apiwat Wongthananon got away well to the right of the Kawasaki and slotted in behind him.

ARRC Rnd Tailem Bend Broc Parkes Bryan Staring
Broc Parkes claims the Race 2 win from Race 1 winner Bryan Staring

As the front of the pack shuffled itself into shape Broc Parkes moved into third and these three began to put daylight between themselves and Zaqwan Zaidi, who led a chasing group that also included the ONEXOX TKKR SAG BMW of Azlan Shah and the Yamahas of Yuki Ito and Ratthapong Wilairot. TJ Alberto and Kazuma Tsuda crashed at turn two and took no further part.

As the first half of the 12 lap race approached, Apiwat was passed by Parkes and began to slip back towards Zaqwan, who was himself under pressure from Azlan Shah and Yuki Ito. After watching the back of the black Kawasaki for a few laps, Parkes made his move and slipped into lead on lap 10. Staring stayed close, taking his turn for follow and watch. Apiwat was passed by Zaqwan, Ito and Azlan, which left the two Yamaha Thailand riders in sixth and seventh. Ito got himself through to third, leaving Azlan and Zaqwan to dispute fifth.

ARRC Rnd Tailem Bend Stephanie REDMAN
Stephanie Redman claimed 12th in Race 2

The game of cat and mouse at the front came to an end as Parkes and Staring began lap 11, with both riders pushing hard. Parkes lost the front twice in his efforts, as Staring kept the pressure on. The Yamaha rider pulled just enough of a gap on the last lap to put the win out of reach and crossed the line with a winning margin of almost half a second.

Ito took his second third place of the weekend, 1.4 seconds further back and eight seconds clear of Zaqwan, whose Asia Dream Racing Honda overcame the BMW of Azlan. Apiwat and Ratthapong held on for sixth and seventh. Yudhistira, Chaiwichit and Farid completed the top ten.

ARRC Rnd Tailem Bend Parkes wins Race
Broc Parkes

The 45 points collected by Broc Parkes over the two races put him on 72 points, 11 clear of Zaqwan, who now has 61. Azlan, Staring and Apiwat are on 47,46 and 44 respectively, while the injured Thitipong has slipped from first to seventh with 40 points.

ARRC Rnd Tailem Bend ASB R Podium
Broc Parkes claimed the Race 2 win from Bryan Staring and Yuki Ito

Source: MCNews.com.au