IDEMITSU Honda Racing India records Best Ever Top 10 finish!

>>Rajiv Sethu records Best Ever 10th finish by Indian rider in Race 2 at Zhuhai circuit, gains 6 more points for solo Indian team

Today was a Golden day for Rajiv Sethu and IDEMITSU Honda Racing India – the solo Indian racing team in 5th round of FIM Asia Road Racing Championship 2019 (ARRC) at Zhuhai circuit of China with celebrations with the results.

IDEMITSU Honda Racing India team rider Rajiv Sethu repeats performance as the first Indian rider to breach the Top 10 ranks in Race 2 of Asia Production 250 class. This is his second top 10 finish in his 3 ARRC seasons, his first being in the Australian round race 1 earlier.

Despite a decent 14th position on the grid, a bad start dragged Rajiv Sethu to 18th ending lap 1 itself. But learning from yesterday, Rajiv continued his assault on the time sheets immediately and recorded his best ever 1:54:055 lap time in lap 2 itself. By lap 3, Rajiv gained 5 positions. He was now with the top bunch riding in less than 2 seconds gap. In lap 4, he gained over his old adversary Cao Viet Nam putting him in 12th position, but an error in lap 5 dragged him back to 14th. Despite in-fighting he maintained his metronomic pace till 8th lap. It was in lap 9 that Rajiv overtook the Malaysian trio of Nazirul Izzat, Muhammad Izam and Muzakkir Mohamed and finally finished in Top 10.

For the rookie 18-year-old Senthil Kumar, today was a day of solid improvement. From his 7th row start, Senthil’s start pushed him to 16th but moderated to 21st ending lap 1. By lap 3, Senthil regained 3 positions to 18th. A cornering mistake in lap 5 resulted in 3 riders overtaking him, putting him 21st. But continuing to challenge himself in the bunch of 6 riders, Senthil finally overtook 3 riders in turn 1 and finish 17th with an overall 2 positions gain from his start.

Sharing an overview on today’s qualifier, Mr. Prabhu Nagaraj, Vice President – Brand and Communications, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. said, “Today, was a happy day for us. Rajiv stuck to the plan for riding with front bunch. He made a strategic move in lap 9 and started leading the second group. While successfully steering away from the crash of Honda riders in just before him in last lap cost him a few positions, he still achieved the targeted Top 10 finish. Today’s race has pushed him in the front bunch. With increased confidence, Rajiv will better his results next in Malaysia. Sethil is constantly improving in every race, bettering his time and gaining positions. Overall, I am happy to see the progress and entry of IDEMITSU Honda Racing India riders in top 10 yet again.”

Quote from IDEMITSU Honda Racing India rider Rajiv Sethu

“Todays’ race was a mental race, more than a physical one. Despite cracking into Top 10 yesterday, I couldn’t hold on to my position. Today, I entered the race to finish in Top 10. With the amazing team support behind me and by keeping my cool in the heat of race, I finally achieved my dream finish. The competition was severe, there were multiple crashes and in-fighting in the top bunch. With this great learning, I will enter as a better rider in the next round at Malaysia.”

Quote from IDEMITSU Honda Racing India rider Senthil Kumar

“Today, I feel stronger as a rider. Learning from yesterday, I maintained my cool. However, I could have finished 14th. I overtook 3 riders in turn 1 to reach 17th. In turn 6, I overtook another 3 riders to reach 14th but made mistake of aggressive braking due to which the 3 riders overtook me back and built a big gap. I closed on them but being the last lap couldn’t overtake them before chequered flag. Today, I learnt how to ride in tight bunch. Next up in Malaysia, my target will be to learn from this mistake and finish in top 15.”

The stop-and-go Zhuhai track proved to be most ideal for the Honda CBR250RR machines. Race 2 today was marked by constant infighting between top 7 riding in less than 1 second gap. While Andy led the first 2 laps, Irfan became the front-runner of 3rd lap, only to be overtook by Awhin Sanjaya in lap 4. The next 4 laps saw the lead rider change in every lap. By the penultimate 9th lap, Awhin, Irfan and Rfid Topan were battling for 1st spot. The crash between 3 Honda riders Awhin, Muklada and Tatchakorn Buasri in the last 10th lap dashed their hopes for 3rd podium finish, even while the battle for 1st continued to be played out in microseconds.

Finally, it was the Indonesian rider Rafid Topan who scooped his double victory this weekend, stopping the clock at 19:10:448, followed by 2nd spot claimant Astra Honda’s Irfan Ardiansyah (19:10:541) and 3rd Piyawat Patoomyos from A P Honda Racing Thailand (19:11:426).

With this, IDEMITSU Honda Racing India is tied in Top 8 teams of AP 250 class with 32 points.

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