WEST DISQUALIFIED; AZLAN IS BIG WINNER FROM ROUND 2

With air temperatures of 36 degrees and a track temperature of 45 degrees, Race 2 looked likely to deliver another drama at the Chang International Circuit, Round 2 host venue of the 2017 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship.

There was plenty of drama from the onset of the race. Astra Honda’s Irfan Ardiansyah endured a nail-biting wait in the pitlane as his team engineers worked frantically for him to join the race from pitlane. Thai rider Chalermpol Polamai jumped the start from the outside for the front row, streaking away from the rest of the field. Manual Tech Kawasaki’s Ahmad Yudhistira tucked his Kawasaki into second position but was constantly harassed by Yamaha Thailand rider Decha Kraisart and Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi of MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda.

Chalermpol came in for his ride-through penalty on lap three and Decha pushed his way past the leading Kawasaki as they came through the final turn to begin lap 4. Yudhistira fought back hard, but the determined Decha had enough pace to stretch out a half second lead as they began lap 5. Meanwhile Azlan, Zaidi and Yuki Ito got past Yudhistira, who recovered quickly to push his way back into third in front of Ito, Anthony West and Zaqhwan, these being seven seconds clear of Ratthapong Wilairot in seventh position.

Looking like a man with a plan for the second half of the race, West got through to a secure third began to close on Azlan, passing the Malaysian cleanly on the brakes into Turn 4 on lap 12. The Australian kept his pace up and closed in on Decha, taking the lead on the brakes at the end of the same lap into turn 12. He was unable to break away, however, with Decha and Azlan pushing him hard all around the circuit.

On the last lap, Azlan slid up the inside of Decha into Turn 4 to take second, but they were three abreast as they squeezed the brakes hard into the final corner. Decha put everything on the line, but ran wide leaving West and Azlan to take first and second.

However, the Australian rider was subsequently disqualified from the results of both Race 1 and Race 2 due to an infringement of technical procedure. This left Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman as the big winner from Round 2. Having won Race 1 on Friday, Azlan was promoted to the top of the timesheets for Race 2 with a time of 30’00.670s. Decha Kraisart went from third to second with 30’01.825s. Zaqhwan Zaidi won a tense battle for third with 30’03.201s, ahead of Ahmad Yudhistira and Yuki Ito. 

Taiga Hada finished sixth, 18 seconds further behind, with Keminth Kubo, Tatsuya Yamaguchi, Ratthapong Wilairot and Tatsuya Yamaguchi completing the top ten. Chalermpol fought back to 14thafter his penalty, 38 seconds behind the winner and took the honours for fastest lap with a time of 1:39.755.