Taiga scores five points, Indian riders once again finish in top 25
By Amit Kumar Das
Suzuka (Japan), Jun 3 (PTI) Japan's Taiga Hada secured five crucial points in the second race as Honda India Racing team returned with a total of nine points from third round of the Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) here today.
Indian riders Rajiv Sethu and Anish Shetty once again finished in the top 25 at the Suzuka circuit.
The 19-year-old Taiga, who had snapped four points yesterday after finishing at the 12th spot following a 15th place start, signed off at an improved 11th position in the Supersport 600 category today.
Still learning the ropes as part of debutant Honda India Racing team, Rajiv and Anish tried their best to overcome the challenges of the difficult Suzuka track but finished at the 24th and 25th positions respectively in the Asia Production 250 category.
In the first race yesterday, Rajiv and Anish had signed off at the 25th and 24th place after qualifying at the 31st and 30th spots.
Chennai-born Rajiv, 20, who is coming back from a wrist injury, lost pace after coming in contact with another rider in lap 4, while 24-year-old Anish wasn't consistent in his approach in the corners and couldn't force his way ahead.
Riding in this track only for the second time, Rajiv said: "Today, I had a good start, I held on to a good bunch and if I could have been able to continue I could have finished in the top 15 but unfortunately I had a contact with another rider in the fourth lap and I lost time. I couldn't maintain consistent lap time. It was a disappointing and learning week for me. Hopefully, we will do well in India and We will try for podium at Chennai.
"I will have home advantage in India but other riders are very experienced, so they will also be very competitive. We will give our 110 per cent," added the 20-year-old, who had broken his wrist after crashing in the practice round at Australia in the second round.
Anish, who made his debut this season, added: "It was not satisfactory race today. In the beginning in the few corners I was with a bunch and I went wide and after that it was difficult for me to catch others without slip stream advantage. In terms of learning it was a great experience but I need to work hard to come back with points."
The race, which saw as many as five crashes, turned out to be a highly competitive one with as many as seven riders having less than a second gap.
Indonesia's Astra Honda rider Rheza Danica Ahrens started from the pole position and continued to build on his lead before finishing on top. His compatriot and teammate Mario Suryo Aji finished in the second spot.
With seven wild card entries in the Asia Production 250cc class, it turned out to be a tough competition for the Indians at Suzuka track but expectations would be high when action shifts to India at MMRT, Chennai from August 3 to 5.
Prabhu Nagaraj, Team Principal IDEMITSU Honda Racing India said, After the warm up today morning, our boys had entered the race with a positive frame of mind. Despite riding for the first time in the tough Suzuka track, Anish has consistently improved his time daily. We have high hopes for Rajiv and look forward to better performance as he recovers fully