Four years into the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship and Tomoyoshi Koyama finally ended his winning drought with a faultless performance in Race 1 of the SuperSports 600cc at the Chang International Circuit. The win came as the first set of races got underway for Round 2 of the 2016 season this weekend.
The 33-year-old Japanese rider started the race from third on the grid, filing up beside pole sitter Zaqhwan Zaidi and Ratthapong Wilairot on the front row. A rocket start catapulted Koyama into the lead. Throughout the extended 18-lap race, Koyama held steady through a number of challenges – first from Decha Kraisart, Zaqhwan Zaidi and Anucha Nakcharoensri. Behind Koyama, the treacherous track conditions and pressure of the race whittled down the 21-man grid.
The competition intensified in the final lap when 600cc rookie Anucha finally made a move on Koyama. Despite his exhaustion, Koyama dug deep and found the extra reserves to hold his course. Anucha’s challenge ended in disappointment when his aggressive moves caused him to crash on the last corner.
The T.Pro Yuzy Honda NTS with WOW rider celebrated his first Asian victory with a total race time of 30’08.402s. Meanwhile, Anucha’s crash gifted second and third place podium finishes to MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda team mates Zaqhwan Zaidi and Yuki Takahashi.
“This must be one of the toughest races I have ever endured. The heat, the competition, the extra long race, everything was a challenge. Throughout most of the race, all I could think of was that I had to win the race. It was the only thought in my mind. The final two extra laps were pure torture. I had already reached the end of my physical endurance and vomited into my helmet. Still I persevered and I am really happy with this win,” said Koyama.
Championship leader Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman struggled at the 4.554km Chang circuit, picking up only eight points to stay marginally in the lead with 58 points. Race winner Koyama is now second overall with 56 points and Zaqhwan third with 52 points.