Former Indonesian GP rider Rafid Topan Sucipto defeated an expected Thai domination in the Asia Production 250cc Race 1 with a superb performance that took many of his competitors by surprise.
While Thai riders Kritchaporn Kaewsonthi and Anupab Sarmoon hogged the proceedings in the Qualifying session, Rafid was constantly clocking within the top 10 but rarely got to the top of the timesheets.
AP Honda Racing Thailand rookie Kritchaporn snatched his first pole position of the season but his lack of experience showed as soon as the 10-lap race got underway. The youngster led into Turn 1 but was soon eclipsed as the more experienced riders got into race rhythm.
Almost like an Underbone race, by midway through the race, there were still 12 riders fighting for the lead. The Thai riders were trying hard to extend a lead, with Anupab Sarmoon and Muklada Sarapuech especially, popping in and out of the lead.
Andy Muhammad Fadly suffered from an engine blow-out on Lap 8 and was forced to retire. By Lap 9, Kritchaporn had gotten himself back into podium position, but lost ground in the final lap.
As Kritchaporn dropped out of sight, Rafid Topan Sucipto bulldozed his way through the pack, going from P5 in Lap 8 to P3 on Lap 9 to arrive at P1 on Lap 10. This would be Rafid’s second AP250 win of the season. He stopped the clock at 19’03.592s
Awhin Sanjaya also managed to streamline his way to second in the race. He stormed to the finish line with 19’03.815s, 0.223s behind his countryman, Rafid Topan.
Muklada Sarapuech survived a last-corner contact against Kritchaporn Kaewsonthi, Mario Suryo Aji and Awhin Sanjaya to finish third across the line with 19’04.217s. Her results was later stricken off (Not Classified) due to the same incident at Turn 12. Muklada will also face a 1-race suspension and will not be allowed to participate in Race 2.
Even though the Asia Production 250cc title is now out of reach, Rafid’s win has placed him in good position to at least finish the season in second overall. The Yamaha Yamalube KYT TJM WR Super Battery team rider is now ranked third with 138 points, only four points behind Anupab Sarmoon.