A simple human error in Race 2 of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship at the Johor Circuit had cost Indonesian rider Jefri Tosema his hard-won lead in the Suzuki Asian Challenge. The 20-year-old rider was on course to lead the title chase after he put in a wheel-perfect performance in Race 1 where he won with a time of 14’12.283s, half a second ahead of his competitors.
However, in Race 2, Tosema’s mechanic mistook a black flag meant for Philippines rider Mario Borbon Junior as being directed at Tosema. The mechanic then instructed Tosema to pit in. The Indonesian rider who was leading the 7-lap race duly pitted at the last lap, much to the confusion of his closest rivals – only to find out that it had just been a miscommunication.
Tosema’s confusion gifted the win to Malaysian rider Rozaliman Zakaria who was escorted onto the podium by April King Mascardo and Rizal Feriyadi.
Rozaliman leads the Suzuki Asian Challenge with 45 points. April Mascardo and Rizal Feriyadi were also able to rank above Tosema in second and third places respectively. Tosema, with only 25 points won from Race 1, will go to Round 2 in fourth ranking.
Jefri Tosema: “He (my mechanic) thought that the black flag was meant for me. I can’t express how disappointed I am because I fought so hard to lead the race. I simply cannot imagine how he could have mistaken the number 29 for my number 20!”
Rozaliman Zakaria: “I am thankful that I have shown good results in my first year of the Suzuki Asian Challenge. It is a good feeling after a long hiatus from professional racing.”
April King Mascardo: “This podium is for my country. I will continue to push hard and work on improving my riding.”
Rizal Feriyadi: “To be honest, I almost followed Jefri into the pit because I was so confused about what he was doing. Luckily, good sense prevailed and I carried on with the race. Otherwise, I too would be suffering from disappointment.”