The 4.554km Chang International Circuit, Thailand’s first FIM Grade A circuit, can be a deceptively difficult race course for rookie riders. For Malaysian rider Mohd Fitri Ashraff Razali, currently in his third season in the premiere class of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship, the circuit located in Buriram is the most important race track in the 2016 title chase.
“The Chang International Circuit will host the ARRC twice this season. Therefore, the ability to score big points here becomes doubly important. This is not an easy race track to master. It looks easy on paper but there are two big trouble spots that could have a big impact on riders’ performance. Turn 4 happens as we descend from a slight elevation and we have to make an immediate left hand dive. Because of the elevation, we won’t be able to sight the corner prior to the turn and the method to tackle this turn must be memorized and ingrained into our muscles and reactions. Turn 12, the last corner, is also another tricky spot. It is a sharp right-hander and any mistake here will send the rider out onto the runoff area, effectively killing our race pace,” said Fitri.
The 22-year-old Malaysian rider has much to prove this season, especially after landing a coveted ride with factory team Yamaha Racing. In a field of factory-supported satellite teams, Team Yamaha Racing is the only factory outfit in the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship.
“Turn 4 and 12 have always been the hardest part of the circuit for me. I have not had good results here in 2015. This season, I must overcome those blocks. I need to improve on my rankings to secure my seat in the team,” he said.
Fitri ranked 32nd overall in 2014, his maiden season in the SuperSports 600cc class. In his sophomore year in 2015, he climbed up the ladder to finish 25th overall. After one round of competition in 2016, Fitri is currently 14th overall.