Astra Honda’s ‘super-sub’ rider, Dimas Ekky Pratama, pulled off a thrilling victory in Race 1 of the Asia Road Racing Championship Round 4 at Sentul.
When the RAMA Honda of Taiga Hada led into Turn 1 from the start it became apparent that the dominance of practice and qualifying pacesetter, Zaqwan Zaidi, would face a tough test over 16 laps. The Malaysian slotted into second place, but was quickly pushed back to third by Dimas and then into fourth Ahmad Yudhistira on the Manual Tech KYT Kawasaki.
Dimas pushed his way past Hada to lead on lap 3, while Yudhistira and Decha turned up the pressure on Zaqwan for third, with Chalermpol and Ito at the rear of the pack. Ito low-sided onto the grass before rejoining the race with the hope only of rescuing a point or two.
By mid-distance Dimas was holding onto first position, though having to fight off Hada and alternately Yudhistira and Decha, with Zaqwan and Chalermpol keeping a watching brief behind. In the second group Azlan Shah, still nursing a hand injury, was battling for seventh with Anthony West on the Akeno Speed Yamaha and Ratthapong Wilairot on the AP Honda CBR 600RR.
Hada took third place back from Decha on lap 12 and looked like making it his own, as Zaqwan began threatened Decha’s fourth place and then relegated him to fifth.
As they entered the last lap, Yudhistira made his move, increasing the pressure on his countryman and taking the lead decisively. For a moment it looked as though he would get clear, but Dimas pushed back through at the back of the circuit and got to the chequered flag first, 33 thousandths of a second ahead of Yudhistira with exactly the same gap to Hada in third.
Zaqwan was fourth, having got clear of Decha as the Thai rider’s tyres went off. Chalermpol crashed on the final lap, handing sixth place to West. Azlan came in seventh, scoring enough to retain his championship lead, while Ratthapong, Keminth Kubo and Sena Yamada completed the top ten.