The Asia Production 250cc Thai riders continued to demonstrate that they had their tag-team strategy down pat. In Race 2 at the first leg in the Johor Circuit, Yamaha Thailand Racing Team trio Apiwat Wongthananon, Peerapong Loiboonpeng and Anupab Sarmoon, put up a strong defense wall at the front of the 28-rider grid.
Starting the race from the front of the grid, the three team mates produced a near-perfect display of team work as they alternately towed and slipstreamed each other throughout the 12-lap race. The Thai riders dominated the top five spots on the timesheets – Apiwat in first place with 21’25.861s, Peerapong in second with 21’27.112s and Anupab third with 21’27.269s. Indonesian rider Galang Hendra Pratama punched his way through a huge second pack to finish fourth with 21’27.621s. Suhathai Chaemsap, returning to the ARRC on a 250cc wildcard ticket, also gave a good performance in fifth place with 21’28.014s.
Like Azlan Shah in the SuperSports 600cc, Apiwat’s double win has given him a big advantage in the championship standings. He leads by a 10-point margin against Peerapong Loiboonpeng.
Meanwhile, Johor-born Kasma Daniel Kasmayudin initially enjoyed a good run among the leading pack, but was soon engulfed by a swarm of riders in the second half of the race. Kasma eventually finished eighth behind Yusuke Nakamura and Takehiro Yamamoto.
Apiwat Wongthananon: “We approached Race 2 like how we did Race 1. The objective was to win and win big. I wanted to drag all my team mates onto the podium with me. What felt different was that I was more confident and relaxed. All the competitors in the Asia Production 250cc class were good riders but I wasn’t worried because I believe that I had a strong team backing me.”
Peerapoing Loibonpeng: “Without a great team and strong sense of team work, this incredible feat that we had just accomplished would have been impossible. Now I’m feeling even more excited for Round 2 which will be a home race for us.”