Andi Farid Izdihar broke new ground for himself and Astra Honda by delivering the team’s first Supersports pole position and first win and podium finish of the season after 16-lap battle with Manual Tech KYT Kawasaki’s Ahmad Yudhistira.
Starting from the middle of the front row, Yudhistira got the holeshot from Farid and rode a confident race in the lead as the 20-year-old pressed him relentlessly. Behind them, MUSASHI Boon Siew Honda’s Zaqwan slotted into an increasingly distant third place, before being passed by a plucky Ratthapong Wilairot, who was riding impressively after dislocating his shoulder in a fast crash at Turn 2 on Friday. The Yamaha Thailand rider looked to have made third place his own, but a problem with his R6’s gear lever forced him to run wide, which let Zaqwan back through.
Farid’s team-mate, Irfan Irdiyansyah, made a poor start before making his way back up into contention and eventually past Ratthapong.
Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, who started hoping to close the championship gap on the absent Anthony West, found his Kawasaki unable to rev into the power band and struggled as Taiga Hada and Tomoyoshi Koyama pushed him down the order.
Late in the race, as the front two moved further ahead, Farid converted pressure into a pass on Yudhistira, who snatched back the lead a few corners later. With tyre wear playing an increasing part in proceedings, Farid kept pushing on the last lap, slithering in front under braking for Turn 10 and holding on as the Kawasaki powered back at him on the run to the line to get within three hundredths of a second. More than eight seconds back, Zaqwan fought off a late charge by Irfan to claim third, another four seconds clear of Ratthapong. Hada and Koyama were another two seconds back in sixth and seventh, while the ailing Azlan was eighth in front of Azroy Anuar, Keisuke Kurihara and Thai duo, Passawit Thitiwararak and Decha Kraisart. Zulfahmi Kharudin, in as a replacement rider for his own team, was 13th, 38 seconds adrift of Farid. Webike IKAZUCHI replacement riders, New Zealander, Liam Taylor MacDonald and Sheridan Morais finished 14thand 17th respectively.