The SuperSports 600cc class has been hit by a spate of injuries even before Round 4 takes off at the Sentul Circuit in Indonesia this August 6 and 7. Several of the top riders had been injured in other racing championships during the mid-season break and deemed unfit for racing in Round 4.
Defending champion Yuki Takahashi, second in the 2016 riders ranking so far, has confirmed that he is not fit enough to race in Round 4. Takahashi crashed during one of the rounds of the All Japan and his doctors had confirmed that he is not fit to race. Team MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda will bring in wildcard rider Satoru Iwata to take Takahashi’s place. But as a wildcard, Iwata is expected to have little impact on the title chase.
Malaysia’s former Moto2 rider Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman suffered a broken leg at the end of the Suzuka round and has also confirmed that he will not be racing in Sentul.
“I broke my leg during Round 3 at Suzuka two months ago. The injury was quite serious and I spent more than a month in the hospital in Japan undergoing surgery. The injury is getting better now, but we feel that it would be too risky to resume racing so soon. If I were to crash again in Sentul, the consequences might be even more serious. So while I am disappointed to miss out on the battle in Sentul, I have to agree with my doctors that it is just not worth the risk particularly as a number of the other top riders will also be absent this weekend,” said Azlan.
Most recently, Thai rider Ratthapong Wilairot fractured his wrists during the Suzuka 8-Hour Endurance Race and is still recovering from surgery.
The spate of injuries suffered by the top flight riders now open up the opportunity for Tomoyoshi Koyama and Zaqhwan Zaidi to change the course of the 2016 title chase. Koyama, who leads Takahashi by one point, could provisionally strengthen his position at the top of the riders’ rankings. Similarly, Zaqhwan now has the opportunity to establish a stronger position for himself.
Additionally, the Indonesian riders will also be given a wider berth to dominate the Sentul podium. Dimas Ekky Pratama, Ahmad Yudhistira and Gerry Salim who are fifth, sixth and seventh respectively, would be expected to be in the limelight of their home race.