Australian GP rider Anthony West won the SuperSports 600cc Race 1 at the Suzuka Circuit, host to the third leg of the 2017 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship.
After a dramatic morning of qualifying practices, the 600cc race finally took off with wildcard rider Ikuhiro Enokido as pole sitter. Malaysian ace, Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman injured himself during the qualifying session but still made it to the grid with a heavily bandaged hand.
Azlan sped to the holeshot at the start of the 600cc race, but soon lost his position as the pain from his injury hampered his performance. Yamaha Racing’s Yuki Ito stole most of the limelight as he led the 19-rider grid for 10 straight laps.
Behind Ito, West clawed his way up to the leading group, eventually putting his yellow Akeno bike right on Ito’s tail. The Australian made a decisive move on Lap 11 and led a train of four to the chequered flag with a time of 28’56.056s.
Yuki Ito finished second with 28’56.140s while Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi claimed the final spot on the podium with 28’57.346s.
Azlan still managed a creditable fourth place finishing, and extends his championship lead to 96 points. Zaqhwan ranked second after Race 1 with 70 points followed by Taiga Hada third with 65 points.
Further down the field, poleman Enokido finally ended the race in fifth place. The remaining five places in the top ten were taken up by the home Japanese riders with Taiga Hada in sixth; Noriyuki Haga in seventh after popping up to second for a short while at the start of the race; Yukio Kagayama eighth, Tatsuya Yamaguchi ninth and Keisuke Maeda tenth.
Yamaha Thailand Racing’s Chalermpol Polamai was on course for a podium position until an unfortunate last-lap incident with Ratthapong Wilairot sent him sprawling into the gravel. Ratthapong was disqualified for having caused the accident.