A WIN FOR WEST AS KUBO COMES OF AGES

As is often the case, there were clues in the Supersport 600 warm-up about how the final results would turn out. Lap times aside, Webike IKAZUCHI’s Anthony West could be seen harassing first Ratthapong Wilairot, then Yuki Ito, making close moves on them under braking, while Keminth Kubo was quick and aggressive. Manual Tech KYT Kawasaki’s first and second place finishers from Race 1, Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman and Ahmad Yudhistira, looked fast and relaxed.

Azlan Shah catapulted away from the start ahead of Ratthapong, Ito and Keminth, only to be shown the red flag at the start of Lap 2 following a crash by Patrick Li. The remaining 22 bikes returned to pit lane while the wrecked Webike IKAZUCHI R6 was recovered and returned to the team.

Azlan proved that his previous getaway had been no fluke, by repeating it when the race got underway again, for a reduced distance of 10 laps​. He built a gap back to Ratthapong, Ito, and the others as he flowed through the left and right turns of the first sector. His advantage disappeared predictably enough on the 900 metre overpass section as the Yamaha Thailand man pulled the pack up to the rear of Kawasaki. Ito squirmed past Ratthapong through the last chicane and onto Azlan’s tail they began lap 2, as Zaqwan, West, Keminth and Yudhistira bunched up behind, a few bike lengths ahead of Tomoyoshi Koyama. Ito ended the second lap as he had some two minutes earlier, this time by squeezing past Azlan and into the lead.

As Ito held the lead on Lap 3, West and then Yudhistira went past Ratthapong and ​closed down Azlan, while Keminth kept station just behind them. One lap later, West went past Azlan at the hairpin, leaving the previous day’s winner to deal with the attentions of his Manual Tech team mate. West took the lead from Ito at Degner from Ito on Lap 5, only for the Japanese to snatch it back at the end of the lap, while Yudhistira passed Azlan for third at the hairpin. Keminth relegated Azlan to fifth, but there was nothing between these five as they swapped positions and rehearsed their lines for the last lap. Keminth took a turn at the front from Ito, the Thai teenager riding with a maturity beyond his years and with the self belief of a race winner. Behind the leading five, Andi Farid Izdihar, showing no ill effects from his highside of the day before, took sixth place from Ratthapong. A gritty Decha Kraisart who was managing to dismiss the pain and muscle weakness from his healing right wrist injury, was looking surprisingly solid in 8th place.

​Last time around, ​Keminth led the leading group of five into the final chicane, but got out-braked by West, who shoved himself in front and held the lead to cross the line three tenths of a second ahead of the 19-year-old, who won a photo finish for second from ​Yudhistira, Ito and Azlan.

West was delighted, having finished on the podium four times from four starts in the 2018 championship to give himself 86 points and a lead in standings ​of​ 14 points from Azlan and by 17 from Ito​ in third​. Keminth’s 20 point boost moves up into fourth with 57 points, five more than Yudhistira.