Wildcard rider Thitipong ‘Tingnote’ Warokorn ended a 3-year winning drought for the Kawasaki camp when he took Race 1 by storm.
The last time a Kawasaki had won at the 4.554km Chang International Circuit, was Katsuaki Fujiwara who netted the first SuperSports 600cc win at the ARRC’s inaugural race inBuriram, Thailand.
Thitipong, racing for the Core Kawasaki Racing Team, started the race from P6 but began breaking away when he took the lead on Lap 4.
Though still hampered by injuries sustained in a separate training incident, Thitipong set a punishing pace at the front of the group, effectively leaving Australian rider Anthony West and defending champion Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman scrambling for the remaining two spots on the podium.
By Lap 14, Thitipong had stretched the lead to 3.9 seconds. As the chequered flag came down on Lap 18, Thitipong crossed the finish line in 29’59.235s.
4.274s behind the wildcard, Ant West pipped Azlan to second place. Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi finished fourth while Ahmad Yudhistira ended his race in fifth.
Further down the finishing order, Ratthapong Wilairot, Tomoyoshi Koyama, Taiga Hada, Keminth Kubo and Andi Farid Izdihar rounded out the top-10.
Also finishing within the points, were debutant Azroy Hakeem Anuar, Yuki Ito, Irfan Ardiansyah, Ramdan Rosli and Kasma Daniel Kasmayuddin.
A strong performance was expected from the vastly experienced Decha Kraisart. However, the long-time Yamaha Thailand Racing Team rider crashed out on Lap 7.