Honda’s recent line-up announcement has revealed the depth of planning that has gone into the motorcycling giant’s strategy for the Asian title.
For the first time in six years, team MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda will field a 3-rider line-up comprising of Malaysian duo Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi and Azzroy Hakeem Anuar as well as Japanese rider Tomoyoshi Koyama.
While the team has yet to name the lead rider, expectations are that Koyama will assume the leading role in the team’s 2018 campaign. This impression is further reinforced by recent updates about Zaqhwan’s full-season ride in the JSB1000 class of the All-Japan. This development leads to the logical conclusion that the 2-time Asian Champion is being groomed to win the ASB1000 crown when the litre class is finally introduced in 2019.
|Name:||MOHD ZAQHWAN ZAIDI|
|Team:||MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda|
|2014||CHAMPION – SuperSports 600cc, FIM Asia Road Racing Championship
CHAMPION – CP130, PETRONAS AAM Malaysian Cub Prix Championship
|2015||Moto2 World Championship (4 rounds)
10th overall – SuperSports 600cc, FIM Asia Road Racing Championship
|2016||CHAMPION – SuperSports 600cc, FIM Asia Road Racing Championship|
|4th overall – CP130, PETRONAS AAM Malaysian Cub Prix Championship|
|2017||2nd overall – SuperSports 600cc, FIM Asia Road Racing Championship|
Along the same veins, Malaysian-based MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda will still need a strong local rider to eventually fill Zaqhwan’s slot when he moves up to the 1000cc. 19-year-old Azzroy Hakeem Anuar fits the bill to a T. Azzroy, alongside young riders like Kasma Daniel Kasmayuddin, are increasingly viewed as the next rising motorsports star in Malaysia. This will be Azzroy’s first full-season astride the 600cc bike.
|Name:||AZROY HAKEEM ANUAR|
|Team:||Yuzy Honda Vietnam Racing|
|2013||13th overall – Honda Future One Make Challenge, Malaysian Cub Prix Championship|
|2014||2nd overall – Honda Future One Make Challenge, Malaysian Cub Prix Championship|
|2015||14th overall – Asia Talent Cup|
|2016||15th overall – Underbone 130cc, FIM Asia Road Racing Championship|
|2016||4th overall – CP115, Malaysian Cub Prix Championship|
|2017||5th overall – Underbone 150cc, FIM Asia Road Racing Championship|
But with all that planning going towards 2019, let’s not forget that there is still a title to be won in 2018! This is where Tomoyoshi Koyama comes in. Nicknamed ‘The Shadow’ by the Asian racing fraternity, Koyama’s neat, precise and flawless rider often has him overlooked on a track filled with drama and theatrics. Overlooked, that is, until he powers his way up to the podium.
|Class:||Asia Production 250cc|
|2002||3rd overall – All Japan Road Race|
|2003||2nd overall – All Japan Road Race|
|2004||2nd overall – All Japan Road Race|
|2005||GP125 World Championships|
|2007||3rd overall – GP125 World Championships|
|2011 – 2012||Moto2 World Championships|
|2013||5th overall – SuperSports 600cc, FIM Asia Road Racing Championship|
|2014||5th overall – SuperSports 600cc, FIM Asia Road Racing Championship|
|2015||2nd overall – SuperSports 600cc, FIM Asia Road Racing Championship|
|2016||2nd overall – SuperSports 600cc, FIM Asia Road Racing Championship|
|2017||2nd overall – Asia Production 250cc, FIM Asia Road Racing Championship|
The Japanese rider is a seasoned campaigner and is no stranger to the intense title chase in the 600cc premiere class. Koyama came close to taking the 2015 and 2016 title. With team MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda, Koyama has earned himself a third shot at the elusive SuperSports 600cc crown.
Together, these three riders will be tasked with the mission of taking back the Asian title against a highly motivated Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman and his Kawasaki team.