Malaysian rider Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi interrupted what would be a full-Indonesian domination in the first day of practice for the SuperSports 600cc class at Round 4 of the 2016 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship in Sentul, Indonesia. A last-minute dash to the finish line netted a blazing quick time of 1’29.936s for the MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda rider and spoiled the party for the Indonesian riders who were on course for a top-five monopoly.
In the process, Zaqhwan also erased the 2015 record set by Mohd Zamri Baba (1’29.984s). However, the 22-year-old is bracing for a tough battle ahead.
“I went all out just to squeeze that extra 0.019 seconds out of my laptime to get in front of Gerry’s time. The home advantage is particularly important at this track because of its challenging track surface. The local riders, having raced here more often, would naturally be more confident during the heat of the battle. If this formation continues with the four Indonesian riders surrounding me at the starting grid, I will have a tough battle on my hands,” said Zaqhwan.
Behind Zaqhwan, the local heroes featured prominently on the timesheets. Team Astra Honda Racing’s rookie Gerry Salim, was phenomenally fast in the second practice session, clocking 1’29.955s. Dimas Ekky Pratama, Andy Muhammad Fadly and Ahmad Yudhistira look set to lock out the remainder of the first and second row as they posted third, fourth and fifth fastest respectively.
In the absence of two other title contenders Yuki Takahashi and Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, championship leader Tomoyoshi Koyama could afford to take it easy on the first day. He was seventh fastest with 1’30.696s.
Qualifying for the SuperSports 600cc class will take place on the morning of the second day, ahead of Race 1.