STRONG COMEBACK FROM WEST; BUT KAGAYAMA STEALS THE SPOTLIGHT

A controversial second round in Thailand behind him, Australian rider Anthony West made a strong comeback into the SuperSports 600cc class of the 2017 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship when he bagged a double win at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan.

The Akeno Speed rider put in a smart performance throughout the 13-lap race. A slow start placed him squarely in the middle of the chasing swarm but the experienced rider took his time as he picked one competitor off after another. The race pace heated up on Lap 4 when West arrived at the sharp end of the pack. The lead changed hands several times but on Lap 11, West was able to create a small gap at the front while Japanese compatriots Yuki Ito and Taiga Hada were engrossed with fighting for P2. The Australian rider finally crossed the finish line with a time of 28’56.621s to clinch a double victory at the Suzuka Circuit. 

Yamaha Racing’s Yuki Ito had been strong throughout the Suzuka weekend, consistently making it to the front end of the timesheets. However, Ito was unable to hold back West’s progress in both races, and eventually settled for a double podium in second place with 28’56.985s.

However, it was Yukio Kagayama who really stole the limelight in the second race. He entered as a wildcard entry, but none of the riders had ever discounted his abilities to score big. In Race 2, Kagayama lived up to his top billings with a stunning performance that saw him go from 10th on the grid to third at the flag. Kagayama popped up among the top five on Lap 9. His superior experience and race craft was clearly evident as he finessed his way around the difficult Suzuka Circuit. While Ito and young Japanese rider Taiga Hada tried to put up a spirited defense, Kagayama outwitted the younger riders at the last chicane when he nipped into third place and raced to the chequered flag with a time of 28’57.588s.

Taiga Hada was relegated to fourth, followed by Chalermpol Polamai in fifth. Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi finished sixth, one spot ahead of polesitter Ikuhiro Enokido. AP Honda Racing duo Tatsuya Yamaguchi and Ratthapong Wilairot occupied eighth and ninth spots respectively.

Meanwhile, Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman whose performance clearly suffered due to his injured hand, finished 10th, enough to keep him at the top of the championship standings with a total of 102 points. Yuki Ito climbed to second overall position with 83 points followed by MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda’s Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi third with 80 points.

Team Manual Tech KYT Kawasaki Racing continues to hold down the fort at the top of the team standings with 102 points. Title defenders MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda is now ranked second with 88 points and team RAMA Honda by NTS T.Pro Ten 10 third with 84 points.