Apiwat Wongthananon’s winning streak in the Asia Production 250cc class finally came to an end. Unfortunately, the defeat came at the worst possible moment – in front of his home crowd at Round 2 of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship in Buriram, Thailand.
Buoyed by three straight wins, Apiwat and his team mate enjoyed a dream start to Race 2 of the Asia Production 250cc. However, it was hardly a nightmare for the rest of the grid. While the Yamaha Thailand Racing trio tried to put up an impenetrable wall at the front of the group, their defences were slowly but surely chipped away by Kawasaki duo Takehiro Yamamoto and Ayumu Tanaka as well as Indonesia’s Galang Hendra Pratama.
While the Yamaha riders were clearly more prominent in the race, there was no denying that they were under a lot of pressure with a lead group comprising of 11 riders, all racing within one second of each other. The Kawasaki riders’ bid for 1-2 position was almost destroyed on Lap 8 when Ayumu Tanaka crashed out heavily. Left alone on a hostile grid, Yamamoto relied heavily on Galang’s presence to force the Thai riders’ attention away from him. The Japanese defending champion managed to tuck into a slipstream at the last corner and slingshot into his first victory of the season with a time of 19’30.632s.
Galang Hendra Pratama netted Indonesia’s first AP250 podium in second place with 19’31.018s followed by Peerapong Loiboonpeng in third with 19’31.319s
“Ayumu and I constantly discussed how to break through the Yamaha riders’ defenses. While I am sorry he crashed out, I am pleased to find that the strategy had worked. Galang’s presence also helped tremendously,” said the TRICKSTAR Racing winner.