Indian riders finish outside points bracket in Race 1 at Suzuka round of ARRC
By Amit Kumar Das
Suzuka (Japan), Jun 2 (PTI) In a disappointing finish for Honda Racing, Indian riders Rajiv Sethu and Anish Shetty finished outside points following a dismal qualifying round in Race 1 of the Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) at the Suzuka circuit here today.
Making a comeback after a wrist injury, sustained during practice round in Australia, 20-year-old Rajiv finished 25th in the first race of round 3 today after qualifying 31st early in the Asia Production 250cc class.
Rookie Anish, who had snapped his first points of the season in the Australia leg, ended the race in 24th place after starting the competition at the 30th spot here.
With seven wild card entries, it turned out to be a tough competition at Suzuka track.
Anish had a slight blip during lap 4, while Rajiv had to deal with problems in front brake and it seemed to have affected their performance today.
"I experienced high side at lap 4 and I lost the bunch in front of me, but I recovered to surpass six riders and finish at 24th place," said 24-year-old Anish, who clocked his best lap time of 2:33.746 with a top speed of 136 kms/hour.
"It is a tough track with 23 turns and it has been a learning experience for me. Starting from 30th on the grid, I didn't have a good start. But I coped up with the bike and gained over other Asian riders to close at 24th. I want to be in a better position tomorrow and would look to keep calm while being more aggressive.
Chennai boy Rajiv, 20, couldn't make the most of the 3 free practices as he had suffered a crash in the first practice. However, he managed to gain six positions to finish in top 25 with his best lap time of 2:34:246.
It's less than a month since my wrist surgery and getting my momentum on track back is my top priority. Unfortunately, my crash in free practice-1 meant I couldn't get much practice and confidence on track. In the third lap, there was a problem in the front brake. Due to the vibration, my hand got numb and I couldn't push myself," Rajiv said.
"Tomorrow, we have planned a different race strategy to maintain consistent lap times in tomorrow's race, he added.
Honda India team's third rider, 19-year old Japanese rider Taiga Hada, who compete in SS600, lost the opportunity to finish at the podium on home soil. Starting from 15th, Hada closed in the top 12 of the total 24 riders to secure 4 points.
Prabhu Nagaraj, Team Principal IDEMITSU Honda Racing India said, Our riders are improving each round. Honda's 3-day pre-round training in Japan has improved Anish's race craft. Riding for the first time in Suzuka, our rookie rider Anish shaved off 8 seconds from his timing in race 1 itself. Overall, while Anish and Rajiv had a flagging start in race 1, both climbed up 6 positions each. By today, riders have understood the track and hope to see stronger finishes by our riders in Race 2 tomorrow