The FIM Asia Road Racing Championship has confirmed that the Round 1 opener, scheduled to be held at Sepang International Circuit from June 4 to 6, will be postponed to a later date due to the rise in Covid-19 cases in Asia over the past month.
This was in accordance with requests from the majority of the participating teams and riders. Even though the season-opener had been given the green-light to proceed from the Malaysian government, the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship stands together with the teams and riders in that the health and well-being of our respective communities is of utmost importance.
A new calendar for 2021 will be released as soon as possible.
Ron Hogg – Two Wheels Motor Racing Director
“I would like to start off by expressing our gratitude to the Malaysian government, especially the officials in the Malaysian Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS), the National Security Council and the Malaysian Ministry of Health. Working hand-in-hand with these officials, the season opener had actually been given the green light to proceed.”
“However, in view of the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the region, we as the promoters, concur with the views of our participating teams and riders, in that it would be more prudent to postpone instead of pushing through with the first round. The health and well-being of our teams and participants will always be our top priority. At the same time, international travel within the Asian region is also becoming increasingly difficult. The tightening of national borders in response to the rise in cases have restricted air travel to and from certain countries, making it hard for the teams to plan their travel schedule.
“We would like to apologize to the fans of Asian motorsports who have been waiting eagerly for the action to start. On behalf of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship, I would like to assure everyone that Season 2021 is merely postponed, and will certainly take off by the latter half of the year. Meanwhile, we hope that everyone will continue to stay safe. Let’s do our part to keep the Covid-19 pandemic under control so that sports can get back into action as soon as possible.”
Stephan Carapiet – FIM Asia President
“The FIM Asia supports the decision of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship to defer the start of the 2021 season. While it is certainly disappointing, it is always preferable to err on the side of caution. Please look forward to the release of a new 2021 calendar soon.”
20 full-time riders are set to race in the six-round, 12-race 2021 Cup, with four competitors chosen as reserves. The 24 riders hail from seven countries across Asia and Oceania: Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Turkey.
As the Covid-19 pandemic obliged the cancellation of the 2020 Cup following the opening round in Qatar, including the 2021 Selection Event, every rider who was set to compete in the Cup this season automatically had a spot available on the 2021 grid.
The majority of the 2021 Entry List therefore comprises familiar faces, with any remaining places filled by riders from national championships or racing schools across Asia and Oceania, chosen by the ATC Selection Committee.
As previously announced, young Aussie Harrison Voight will not return to compete in the IATC as he was chosen to compete in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. Voight will also compete in the 2021 FIM Moto3 Junior World Championship, as will 2018 Asia Talent Cup Champion Billy van Eerde. Compatriot Max Gibbons also leaves the IATC.
Malaysian Syarifuddin Azman will leave the IATC, instead focusing on the Moto3 JWCh in 2021. Shoki Igarashi has also decided to not return to the grid in 2021.
Joining the IATC for 2021 are Australian Oceania Junior Cup alumni Marianos Nikolis and Tom Drane.
Nikolis from Royalla, NSW, and Drane from Forbes, NSW, who finished 1st and 2nd respectively in this year’s OJC, as part of the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul (ASBK), are the newest OJC riders to be selected to race in the highly competitive Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup (IATC).
MA and the the FIM Oceania Junior Cup Management Team selected Nikolis and Drane, both highly skilled riders not only for their results and natural talent on track but their maturity and professionalism off track.
Both riders have come from a dirt track background, with Nikolis a 2-time Motostars Junior Champion who finished 5th in last year’s OJC and convincingly won the Championship this year.
Drane who finished 3rd in the OJC last year and runner-up this year is a 15-time Australian Dirt Track Champion, 20-time State Dirt Track Champion, and 3-time American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Dirt Track Champion.
For both Nikolis and Drane the unexpected news has turn out to be the ultimate Christmas surprise.
“I’m very excited it’s been a big dream of mine since I started racing,” said Nikolis.
“I’ve looked up to Billy Van Eerde for a while so it’s an exciting opportunity and definitely a great Christmas present, what more could you ask for.
“I wouldn’t be able to do it if it wasn’t for the Oceania Junior Cup and I can’t thank the OJC and all the staff enough for how they have helped me.
“Winning the Oceania Junior Cup Championship and hearing the good news about the Asia Talent Cup it just couldn’t make my year any better.”
Young Malaysian Hakim Danish, who was put forward by Sepang International Circuit, will also join the grid, as will Tetsuya Fujita, a rider from the All Japan Championship chosen by Honda.
Another key headline sees the return of Danial Sharil. The Malaysian suffered leg injuries in the final round of the 2018 IATC and has since been on a long but successful road to recovery, ready to take his place back on the grid next season.
Australia’s entrants are the youngest in the competition with both Carter Thompson and Marianos Nikolis both only 13, while countryman Tom Drane is 14.
Competition is set to begin alongside MotoGP in Qatar, before making a first visit to Sepang International Circuit with the Malaysia Superbike Championship.
From there the Cup is back with the Grand Prix paddock at the Twin Ring Motegi, Buriram and Sepang, before rounding out the season alongside WorldSBK at Mandalika Street Circuit in Indonesia.
All dates, events, and the eventual attendance of spectators are subject to the evolution of the pandemic and the approval of corresponding governments and authorities.
The FIM Asia Road Racing Championship has released a provisional calendar for the 2021 season comprising of six rounds.
In a cautious move to give plenty of buffer for any lingering pandemic-related travel restrictions, the 2021 season will start late, beginning only in June.
The Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia is expected to host the first two season openers with Round 1 taking place from June 4 to 6, followed quickly by Round 2 from June 11 to 13, 2021.
The circus will then travel to the Zhuhai International Circuit in China for Round 3 from July 30 to August 1 followed by the fourth leg at The Bend Motorsport Park in Australia from September 23 to 26.
Two more consecutive rounds at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand will wrap up the season with Round 5 scheduled from November 19 to 21 followed by the season finale from November 26 to 28, 2021.
Ron Hogg – Director Two Wheels Motor Racing
“2020 has been a challenging year for all sporting events. As the promoters of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship, we are grateful to all the racing teams and our corporate partners for their kind understanding and support. While the calendar is still subject to more changes, we are really looking forward to a great comeback season in 2021.”
The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports have announced the cancellation of the 2020 OR Thailand Grand Prix and 2020 Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix. Previously postponed, the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and resulting complications have now sadly obliged the cancellation of each Grand Prix to be confirmed.
Both events were set to host a round of the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup, and the cancellations of the two Grands Prix also oblige the cancellation of the corresponding ATC rounds at the same events.
The previously postponed ATC Round alongside ASBK, set to be held at The Bend Motorsport Park in Australia, will also not be able to take place in 2020, as Australian borders are expected to remain closed until the end of the year.
The previously postponed Malaysian ATC Round alongside MSBK, set to be held at Sepang International Circuit, would therefore be the only event remaining from the original 2020 calendar. However, due to travel restrictions for staff and riders who travel from across Asia and Europe to each ATC event, this round must regrettably also be cancelled.
Therefore, the 2020 ATC would only consist of the single round that has already taken place at the Grand Prix of Qatar in March. Given it is only two races, this cannot be classed as a full ATC season. Consequently, FIM Asia and Dorna sadly announce that the 2020 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup must be cancelled.
However, every rider who was set to compete in the Cup this season will automatically have an available spot on the 2021 grid. Any remaining places in the 2021 Cup will be filled by riders from national championships or racing schools across Asia and Oceania, with competitors chosen by the ATC Selection Committee. This is due to the fact that the 2021 Selection Event, set to be held before the Malaysian GP in October at Sepang, cannot take place this season.
A 2021 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup calendar will be announced following publication of 2021 dates or calendars for the Championships alongside which the ATC often race, such as MotoGP™, MSBK and ASBK.
In 2020, the focus for the riders will now move from on-track battles to virtual workshops aimed at improving some important skills off the bike. These CHAMPS Virtual Workshops focus on communication and social media, as well the importance of the English language for those who are not native speakers. The first two workshops took place mid-July, with more organised for the coming weeks as the grid gear up for 2021. The ATC will also continue to have a vibrant presence on social media, and the homepage of the Cup will continue to publish updates on current events, as well as showcase the best of the ATC and some of the closest racing on two wheels.
The organisation of the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup would like to extend a special thank you to all the partners, sponsors and people who make the ATC possible. One of the most successful paths on the Road to MotoGP, the Cup has already helped to foster some incredible talents that now line up in the Moto3 and Moto2 World Championships, with pole positions, podiums and Grand Prix wins to their name.
The ATC very much looks forward to continuing this journey when we return to race in 2021.
Earlier today Motorcycling Australia announced the postponement of the second round of the 2020 mi-bike Australian Superbike Championship at Goulburn’s Wakefield Park Raceway.
Obviously the viability of ASBK round three at The Bend is also under consideration.
The Bend event would see ASBK once again joined by the Asian Road Racing Championships at the South Australian venue.
This year an Asia Talent Cup round was also to be held for the first time on Australian soil. This series was also slated to be held as part of The Bend event which is promoted by organisers as the 2020 International MotoFest.
This afternoon though the Asia Talent Cup organisation confirmed their withdrawal from the event on its currently scheduled dates of May 8-10. Their statement below indicates however that their involvement is postponed rather than cancelled.
ASBK was also to join the V8 Supercars on the following weekend at Western Australia’s Barbagallo Raceway. Earlier today V8 Supercars management announced that the Barbagallo event, originally scheduled for the weekend of May 17th, had been postponed.
Those observations suggest that not only the Wakefield Park round of the ASBK Championship will be postponed as annnounced, but also the South Australian and Western Australian events on the calendar are also being evaluated by Motorcycling Australia, with official announcements expected to be forthcoming in due course.
Asia Talent Cup Statement
Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the Australian Round of the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup has been postponed.
The round was set to take place at The Bend Motorsport Park from the 8th to the 10th of May 2020, alongside the Australian Superbike Championship and the Asia Road Racing Championship.
Aided by the support of government health authorities, Dorna Sports is closely monitoring the ongoing outbreak. A new calendar with a rescheduled date will be published as soon as available.
Gold Coast teenager Harrison Voight has claimed his maiden Asia Talent Cup (ATC) podium, finishing third in Race 2 of the series opener at Losail International Circuit as part of the MotoGP of Qatar.
Harrison Voight (right) on the Race 2 Podium in Qatar
13-year-old Voight recorded his best ever qualifying result at the season opener, which marks his second season competing in the Asia Talent Cup. The Australian, who was the youngest rider in the field in 2019, qualified second for the two 14 lap races over the weekend.
A mistake in Race 1 saw Voight come off at Turn 6, re-joining the race at the rear of the field, and still finishing the race, salvaging valuable championship points.
Harrison Voight #18
Shaking off the nerves from Saturday’s incident, Voight endured a tough battle to the flag on Sunday, dropping back to fifth mid race. A five-way battle ensured over the closing laps of the race, Voight moved into the lead at turn one on the final lap eventually taking third.
“It was a good feeling to finally get a podium in the ATC. The racing was tough and it all came down two the last two laps. Thankfully I have had some experience at this track so when I rolled out all I had to worry about was the setting up of the bike. The competition this year is a lot harder than last year as the Japanese riders are very fast and the pace is faster. Hopefully we can achieve more podiums and even a win this year. My goal is to finish the year in the top 3. I am very thankful to Dorna and the ATC for giving me this opportunity.”
The Gold Coast rider currently sits fifth in the championship standings with the next event to be held at The Bend in South Australia on 8-10 May 2020, alongside ASBK.
Voight started out racing flat track at the Mike Hatcher Junior Motorcycle Club at Arundel at the age of 8 and continues to race at the club in between his international commitments. In addition to the Asia Talent Cup, Voight will also contest the European Talent Cup as part of the Sic58 Squadra Course team.
We didn’t have to wait long to find out how a decent World Superbike rider would fare ARRC’s competitive cauldron. Markus Reiterberger – who alongside Tom Sykes, rode a BMW S 1000 RR for Shaun Muir Racing in 2019 – followed up a lap record breaking performance in pre-season testing at Sepang with a dominant performance in Friday’s free practice for round one.
The German, who turns 26 this week, looked at ease aboard the ONEXOX TKKR BMW, topping all three sessions by more than six tenths. His best time was 2’04.950, set midway through FP1.
The chase was led at different times by Kawasaki Thailand’s Thitipong Warakorn, Yamaha Racing ASEAN’s Broc Parkes and Yamaha Thailand’s Apiwat Wongthananon, who ended up second on the day, with a best time of 2’05.764 in FP3, more than eight tenths adrift of Markus. Broc put in a good day’s work to finish third on combined times, with a lap of 2’05.928.
The only other rider to get into the 2’05s and therefore within a second of Markus, was Lorenzo Zanetti, on the Access Plus Racing Okada Ducati Panigale. Standing in for Frederico Sandi, Zanetti, who is an official Ducati test rider, finished just ahead of Thitipong, Yuki Ito and defending champion Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, who lagged his new team-mate by 1.810s to end up seventh.
Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman
ASB debutant, Anuparb Sarmoon, made a good account of himself to finish the day eighth for Yamaha Thailand, while Kawasaki Thailand’s class rookie, Ryosuke Iwato and Access Plus Okada’s TJ Alberto completed the top ten.
ASB Qualifying and Race 1
During Saturday morning qualifying, the pattern of pre-season testing and free practice repeated, with nobody able to get within striking distance of the ONEXOX TKKR SAG BMW of Markus Reiterberger, who claimed pole position with a lap of 2’04.762.
Broc Parkes got to within 1.4 seconds of the German to put himself second from Yamaha Thailand’s Apiwat Wongthananon, who always seems to qualify on the front row. Broc’s team-mate, Yuki Ito was fourth, to lead the second row from the Access Plus Ducati of Lorenzo Zanetti.
Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman was seventh, ahead of Thitipong Warakorn. The Thai rider had his session disrupted when he crashed on water that had seeped onto the track at Turn 4. The incident brought out the red flag and there was a lengthy delay while marshals mopped and dried the surface.
As it often does, an electric storm hit Sepang later in the afternoon, causing a delay of around 45 minutes to the start of the race.
With racing on a wet track being a new experience for the 2020 BMW, the possibility of Markus being beaten began to look realistic. He got away at the front, but, ominously, Yuki Ito tucked in behind him and snatched the lead midway round lap one. Meanwhile, Apiwat was well-placed in third, just ahead of Broc, who went through at turn 15 and then passed Markus for second.
Broc Parkes, Apiwat Wongthananon, Anuparb Sarmoon, Markus Reiterberger
By lap three out of 12, Yuki had found his rhythm and was three seconds clear at the front. Markus ran wide and Yamaha Thailand’s Apiwat and Anuparb Sarmoon went through to third and fourth. Some five seconds further back, Lorenzo was battling with Farid Badrul and Azlan for sixth place, while Thitipong looked unhappy further back in tenth.
By half distance the race was looking settled, with Yuki hitting his marks smoothly and stretching his lead every lap. In contrast Broc was having to fend off the advances of a determined Apiwat, with both machines twitching and threatening to spit off their riders at every turn.
Yuki Ito claims the Race 1 win
These two were well clear of Anuparb, who was making a very respectable debut. Broc succumbed to Apiwat’s pressure on lap 11, going over the highside of his R1 and snapping his handlebars, to register a highly undesirable DNF.
Despite a leisurely trundle from turn 15 to the chequered flag, Yuki crossed the line 7.6 seconds ahead of Apiwat and Anuparb, who was 15 seconds behind his Yamaha Thailand team-mate. Markus came in a safe fourth from Zanetti, Azlan and Badrul.
Yuki Ito celebrates the Race 1 win
ASB Race 2
Storm clouds that had again looked threatening during the afternoon began to disperse as the Asia Superbike grid formed for race two.
Sitting on pole position, ONEXOX TKKR SAG’s Markus Reiterberger looked a lot more relaxed than he had 24 hours earlier for Saturday’s wet race, next to Yamaha Racing ASEAN’s Broc Parkes, who was feeling sore after high-siding out of second position in race one. Despite the setbacks, the Australian was determined to get the start of his ARRC season launched with a degree of success.
utside him, Yamaha Thailand’s Apiwat Wongthananon, who had hounded Broc the previous day and then benefited from the previous day’s crash, set his sights on another strong result.
Markus checked out at the start, pulling a few lengths clear as he got to the first corner. Broc was the best of the rest for a few corners until he got mugged by Apiwat, who fancied his chances of chasing down the German at the front. More discomfort followed for the Hunter Valley man, as he found himself under pressure from Yamaha Thailand’s Anuparb Sarmoon and Access Plus Okada Ducati’s Lorenzo Zanetti.
Kawasaki Thailand’s Thitipong Warakorn was next, with race one winner, Yuki Ito and Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman completing a group of seven. On lap three, Lorenzo, who had predicted a podium finish, moved past Anuparb and Apiwat into second.
Apiwat Wongthananon, Broc Parkes, Lorenzo Zanetti, Anuparb Sarmoon
With half the 12-lap race done, Markus was 6.8 seconds clear and Lorenzo and Apiwat made up the provisional podium from Anuparb and Broc. Then Azlan seemed to finally gell with the 2020 Beemer and made his way through the group and up into second from Apiwat and Lorenzo. Anuparb crashed out of contention on lap seven.
With two laps left, a mistake by Azlan saw him hit the floor, while Broc and Thitipong, who had also taken a few knocks during the weekend got a lot more serious about their finishing positions. Broc moved onto the back of a twitchy-looking Ducati, but was unable to find a way past until the Italian appeared to miss a gear as he charged out of turn 15 towards the finish line. Broc narrowly avoided rear-ending him and took third place behind Markus and Apiwat. Zanetti came through to fourth in front of Thitipong and Yuki.
ASB Race 2 Podium
Apiwat’s brace of second places means that he leaves Sepang atop the standings with 40 points to Markus’s 38. Yuki lies third on 35 from Zanetti (24) and Thitipong (18). Broc’s DNF and third place finish put him sixth and level on points with Anuparb.
The Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup season kicked off with Race 1 at Losail International Circuit over the weekend, alongside the Qatar MotoGP round, with Kanta Hamada duelling superstar rookie Taiyo Furusato right to the wire, and the two crossing the line just hundredths apart.
2020 Asia Talent Cup – Round 1 Qatar
It was the more experienced Hamada who came out on top to take his first win after some perfectly pitched slip-streaming, with the podium completed by Syarifuddin Azman after a solid ride from the Malaysian to open his account in 2020.
Syarifuddin Azman came out on top in Race 2, the Malaysian winning a five-way battle for victory to take his second win in the series and first of the year. Race 1 winner Kanta Hamada keeps the points lead after he came home in second, just 0.049 off, with the podium completed by Harrison Voight as the Australian made his first visit to the IATC rostrum.
It was a mixed weekend for Voight who had to recover from a Race 1 mishap to finish 12th, before the podium position in Race 2, and completed the weekend in fifth place overall, on 20 championship points.
Fellow Australians Carter Thompson and Max Gibbons also put in a strong showing, with Gibbons claiming tenth in Race 1 and sixth in Race 2, for a total of 16 championship points, leaving him placed seventh into Round 2.
Carter Thompson finished in ninth and 11th across the two races, for 12 championship points and holds 12th in the standings and looks forward to Round 2 at The Bend in Australia.
“Race 2 I finished P11. Happy with taking more off my times, made some silly mistakes during the race and work is needed on my starts but am very happy overall with my weekend. Learnt so much and it is all experience. Want to say a huge congrats to Harrison Voight Racing #29H on an awesome race, podium well deserved and also to Max Gibbons Racing for a great race as well with a great result. Home tomorrow, and can’t wait for Round 2 in Australia at The Bend.”
Off the line it was Furusato who got an almost perfect start from pole, with the Japanese rider streaking away with a good number of bike lengths in hand. Australian Harrison Voight got bogged down slightly from second on the grid, and the likes of Hamada and Azman needed no invitation to make their way through and take over the chase. Voight then slid out, leaving one favourite for the podium facing a fight back.
2020 Asia Talent Cup – Round 1 Qatar
Back at the front, Furusato was cool and collected, maintaining his gap for a while, but the number 8 of Hamada had his head down and began chipping away at the lead until it was most definitely a duel. Azman, meanwhile, had managed to pull away from those just behind, but the Malaysian didn’t seem to have much in his pocket to take on the two men ahead of him. Furusato and Hamada were, after all, the only men capable of putting in the 2:11s.
Lap by lap it was a classic game of chess and tactics between the two at the front, with a few dices here and there but the game a patient one until the latter third of the race. From around five laps to go it was all go, however, with the moves coming thick and fast and both putting on a fantastic show – as well as doing some research, it seemed, into how to play their cards come the end of the race.
2020 Asia Talent Cup – Round 1 Qatar – Race 1
Hamada had tried out the slipstream exiting the final corner on a number of occasions before it was crunch time, just ahead over the line on each attempt, but after heading wide into Turn 1 on the final lap the number 8 suddenly had more of a mountain to climb. Not long after, however, it was Furusato’s turn to head a little wide and sure enough, the two were locked back together as the final few corners beckoned.
Hamada was in position to play the hand he seemed to have prepared, and just like earlier in the race the slipstream paid off to perfection. Tucked in behind Furusato right next to the grass before pulling out to make the move just before the line, Hamada took his first IATC win in style and by just 0.032. Furusato can be proud of an incredible debut in the series, however, and Race 2 will surely be one to watch as the two could well face off again…
2020 Asia Talent Cup – Round 1 Qatar – Race 1 finish line
Azman took third and his first podium of the year in a bit of clear air, but another duel to the wire decided fourth and fifth. Rookie Gun Mie took it in the end, just 0.009 ahead of Shoki Igarashi as the two crossed the line almost bumping elbows.
2020 Asia Talent Cup – Round 1 Qatar – Race 1 Podium
It was also incredibly close in the fight for sixth, with just over a second covering P6 down to P11. Malaysian Sharul Sharil come out on top in the group fight as he took that sixth, ahead of the Japanese duo of Masaya Hongo and Rei Wakamatsu, forcing Australians Carter Thompson and Max Gibbons to settle for ninth and tenth, respectively. Indian rider Mikail Salih come home in 11th on his debut, just a tenth further behind.
Voight, after managing to rejoin the race following his crash, took twelfth and some valuable points despite his time deficit to the top. He could be one to watch on Sunday in Race 2 after not getting chance to show his full hand.
It was polesitter Taiyo Furusato who once again took the holeshot from the front, the Japanese rookie putting in another stunner off the line, but this time those just behind him were able to stay in slightly better touch from the off. And from that off, a lead group of five emerged as it became clear Race 2 was going to be more than a duel – with Hamada, Azman, Gun Mie and Voight all able to make it a five-man contest.
2020 Asia Talent Cup – Round 1 Qatar – Race 2 Start
That’s the way it stayed on Sunday, with some stunning moves, a few wobbles and plenty of overtaking spicing up the fight at the front, and the high speed chess of Race 1 replaced by a gloves-off battle. Coming into the final corner, Furusato once again chose to remain in the lead – once again having led for many laps of the race too – but once again it didn’t quite work out. The slipstream was going to decide the race, but this time there were five.
As Furusato gunned it towards the line, those behind were gaining and it was Azman who got the drive. The Malaysian timed it perfectly to pull alongside and then past, making it to the line just half a tenth clear of the man on his tail – Hamada, as the number 8 also got past Furusato. As did Voight, with Furusato forced to settle for fourth despite having put in so much leg work.
2020 Asia Talent Cup – Round 1 Qatar – Race 2 Podium
Gun Mie ended up a couple of tenths back but nevertheless made it a debut weekend to remember as he followed up fourth in Race 1 with another top five on Sunday, with an even closer battle raging behind him for sixth. Australian Max Gibbons won it by just 11 hundredths, fighting off Shoki Igarashi as the Japanese rider was shuffled back to P7.
Rei Wakamatsu took eighth and a step forward on Sunday, gaining himself some clear air from those on the chase, as another close contest deciding ninth. Indian rider Mikail Salih took that P9, getting the better of Malaysian Sharul Sharil by just half a tenth. Carter Thompson was 11th and Masaya Hongo 12th, but both still within a second of Salih.
That’s a wrap from Round 1, with a little longer wait for the next track action after the calendar change. But that’s time to reset and recharge, with more IATC action waiting in the wings.
2020 Asia Talent Cup Calendar (Updated)
March 6-8 – Races 1 & 2 – MotoGP Grand Prix of Qatar – LOSAIL, QATAR
May 8-10 Races 3 & 4 – ASBK – THE BEND, AUSTRALIA
August 7-9 Races 5 & 6 – Malaysian Superbike Championship – SEPANG, MALAYSIA
October 2-4 Races 7 & 8 – MotoGP Grand Prix of Thailand – BURIRAM, THAILAND
October 16-18 Races 9 & 10 – MotoGP Grand Prix of Japan – MOTEGI JAPAN
Oct/Nov 30-1 Races 11 & 12 – MotoGP Grand Prix of Malaysia – SEPANG, MALAYSIA
Markus Reiterberger logged a 2’05.388s during the 2020 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship pre-season tests to best Thitipong Warokorn’s year-old record of 2’05.505s logged in Round 1 last year, and that had survived through Round 6 at the same venue.
Reiterberger will be the first German rider to race in the Asian series and is competing under the ONEXOX BMW TKKR SAG TEAM banner when the 2020 series gets underway this weeked with round one at Sepang.
Broc Parkes is returning for his second attempt at the Asian title with Yamaha Racing Team ASEAN, the Australian ended the pre-season tests second quickest in the ASB1000 class. Broc trailed Reiterberger’s lap by 0.284s. The 38-year-old’s best lap-time, recorded in Practice 3, was 2’05.672s.
Defending champion Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman was third fastest on 2’06.009s followed by Apiwat Wongthananon (Yamaha Thailand Racing Team) fourth on 2’06.231s.
Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman
Federico Sandi’s replacement in the Access Plus Racing-Okada-Team, Lorenzo Zanetti, rounded out the top five in the pre-season tests with 2’06.734s.
ASB 1000 Day 1 + Day 2 Overall Practice Results
Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman
Lorenzo Demetrio Zanetti
Test Bike 1
Dimas Ekky Pratama
Timothy Joseph C.Alberto
Yamaha Test Bike
Ahmad Daniel Haiqal
Adam Norrodin leads 600 Supersport
Pachi ZK Racing’s Adam Norrodin has set a new Sepang benchmark in the SuperSports 600cc class when he bested Kasma Daniel Kasmayuddin’s 2019 lap record by 0.689 seconds. The Malaysian rider posted 2’09.029s in Practice 4 during the 2020 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship pre-season tests.
Top contenders for the 2020 crown are beginning to emerge after two days of testing at the 5.5km Sepang International Circuit, with teams Pachi ZK Racing and Boon Siew Honda Racing Team identified as early favourites ahead of the season opener.
The two teams seemed to have the front row on lock down with Adam, his younger brother Ibrahim Norrodin, as well as Boon Siew Honda Racing Team’s Azroy Hakeem Anuar and Helmi Azman consistently lapping within the top four in the class.
Azroy Hakeem Anuar
Yamah Gen Blu Racing Team’s Ahmad Afif Amran closed the two day pre-season test as the fifth quickest in class. Afif’s best time was 2’10.547s while SS600 rookie McKinley Kyle Paz was 13th fastest with 2’12.552s.
Senior SS600 riders Ratthapong Wilairot and Ahmad Yudhistira have yet to make their moves… for now. Ratthapong posted sixth overall with 2’10.610s and Yudhistira seventh with 2’10.846s.
Japanese duo Yusuke Nakamura and Soichiro Minamimoto from Akeno Speed Yamaha Racing placed eighth and ninth fastest in the tests. Yamaha Racing Indonesia’s Faerozi Toreqottullah rounded up the top 10 in the SuperSports 600cc class.
Supersports 600 Day 1 + Day 2 Overall Practice Results
Md Adam Md Norrodin
Azroy Hakeem Anuar
Md Ibrahim Md Norrodin
Md Helmi Azman
Ahmad Afif Amran
Md Faerozi Toreqottullah
Md Ramdan Rosli
Troy Jacob Cua Alberto
McKinley Kyle Paz
Nazirul Izzat Md Bahaudin
The ONEXOX TKKR SAG TEAM wrapped up the 2020 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship pre-season tests on a positive note with three of their riders topping the timesheets in their respective classes.
Rey Ratukore also gave early indication that the team is on the right track for the 2020 season opener in Sepang when he posted the fastest time in the Asia Production 250cc category – 2’26.150s.
Malaysian Izam Ikmal from the IDEMITSU Boon Siew Honda Racing Team was the second fastest man on the track with 2’26.214s while defending champion Andy Fadly posted third with 2’26.253s on his Kawasaki.
YAMAHA Racing Indonesia’s Anggi Setiawan was fifth fastest, trailing fourth placed Aiki Iyoshi by 0.126 seconds.
Of note, Mohd Danial Syahmi, back to active racing after recovering from his injuries, was ninth fastest in the group. Vorapong Malahuan took his TVS Apache RR310 to 10th quickest with 2’28.678s.
AP250 Day 1 + Day 2 Overall Practice Results
Reynaldo C. Ratukore
Muhammad Izam Ikmal
Andy Muhammad Fadly
Md Muzakkir Mohamed
Shahrol Syazras Yuzy
Md Idlan Haqimi Raduan
Md. Danial Syahmi
Syafieq Aiman Fauzi
ARRC Underbone 150
Wahyu Aji Trilaksana came up tops in the Underbone 150 pre-season tests when he stopped the clock at 2’32.440s during the pre-season tests. Although still about a second off Akid Aziz’s 2019 lap record, Wahyu has shown early indications that he is ramping up his Underbone campaign in a bid to end his 3-year title drought in the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship.
Wahyu Aji Trilaksana
Wahyu is trailed by compatriot Wawan Wello. The SND Factory Racing Rapido rider posted second quickest in the pre-season tests with 2’32.848s.
A trio of Malaysians followed. Akid Aziz was third fastest with 2’32.910s followed by Izzat Zaidi and Ahmad Fazli Sham.
Newcomer team 4S1M YAMAHA Racing Team has gotten off to an optimistic start when Gupita Kresna placed seventh with a competitive time of 2’33.454s.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 2020 ARRC Superbike Calendar
2020 Asia Superbike 1000 Entry List
Here’s a look at the final standings in the 2019 Asia Superbike 1000 championship, for reference.
Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman
Md Zaqhwan Zaidi
Timothy Joseph Cua Alberto
Farid Badrul Hisham
Ali Andriansyah Rusmiputro
Li Zheng Peng
Huang Zi Zhao
K. Rajini Krishnan
Robert Daniel Kruger
Chen Peng Yuan
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