Indonesian rookie Gerry Salim enjoyed a phenomenal Race 1 during Round 4 of the 2016 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship in Sentul, Indonesia. The young Astra Honda Racing Team rider not only clinched his first SuperSports 600cc pole position but also his maiden win in front of his delighted home crowd.
Malaysian rider Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi who was the fastest rider during the first day of practice, lost the coveted pole position to high-flying Gerry. Dimas Ekky Pratama also clocked second fastest during the qualifying to lock out the second grid. Zaqhwan parked his bike on the last spot of the front row.
As the 16-lap race flagged off, the Astra duo were quick to steal the holeshot but was unable to keep Kawasaki’s Ahmad Yudhistira from charging into the lead. The thee Indonesian riders set the pace for the first 10 laps of the race but Yudhistira lost his hard won position on Lap 11 when he lost the front tyre and slid out of the race. With Yudhistira out of the way, the two team mates continued to duel for the lead, not realizing that Zaqhwan had narrowed the gap behind them. One lap to the chequered flag, Zaqhwan showed his hand at the first corner as he slid under Dimas Ekky Pratama’s defenses to take the lead. Unfortunately, the Malaysian rider made his move too soon and he was unable to react when both Dimas and Gerry mounted a counter-attack.
The 16-lap race ended with Gerry Salim taking his maiden SuperSports 600cc win with a time of 24’27.838s. Dimas made it an Indonesian 1-2 when he finished second with 24’27.932s. Zaqhwan had to be content with third place, clocking 24’28.161s.
Championship leader Tomoyoshi Koyama managed to keep his championship lead by finishing 4th and currently holds 118 points to his name. Zaqhwan is second overall with 111 points while the absent Yuki Takahashi and Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman dropped to third and fourth overall respectively.
Gerry Salim: I am so happy that I feel speechless right now. I just want to take this opportunity to thank Astra Honda Racing for believing in me. I dedicate this team to my team mechanics and engineers for their hard work to prepare an amazing race bike for me.
Dimas Ekky Pratama: It feels good to be fighting at the front. I tried to go for the win, but somehow just couldn’t make it stick. Of course, I am happy for Gerry to win his first SuperSports 600cc race. It is also great that we were able to deliver a 1-2 finish for team Astra Honda.
Zaqhwan Zaidi: It was an exciting race for everyone. I overtook Koyama on Lap 11, just at the same time as when Ahmad Yudhistira crashed out of the lead. Over the next two laps, I noticed that Gerry and Dimas seemed to be fighting each other so I decided to join in the party. I made a mistake at the double right-hander during the last corner. I was just a little off pace at that part of the track. It allowed Gerry and Dimas to ride through. By then, it was too late to make another overtaking attempt. So I would say that I am alright with third place in Race 1.