Adelaide: Indian motorsport is finally coming of age and Saturday proved this as IDEMITSU Honda Racing India team rider Rajiv Sethu created history as the first Indian rider to break into Top 10 group in AP 250 class of FIM Asia Road Racing Championship 2019 (ARRC) – Asia’s toughest road race championship.
With his best start from 12th position, Rajiv Sethu pulled the guns today. A good start propelled him to 5th and 6th position in the first lap of race 1 itself. However, his bike’s handlebar got stuck with Indonesian rider Irfan Ardiansyah on contact which pushed him back. But challenging himself, the 3rd timer 21-year-old maintained his cool and made his move in 5th lap. Overtaking 2 riders, Rajiv was the 10th to cross the chequered flag and gained 6 points while recording his fastest best lap time of 2:10:207, a solid 1.5 second improvement over his previous best.
Meanwhile, today was a day of struggle and then a massive recovery for the rookie 18-year-old Senthil Kumar. Starting 18th, Senthil overtook 3 riders with his great start but in turn 15 he went out of track and went back to 24th. But ploughing on, Senthil overtook 7 riders to finally finish 17th with 1 position gain from his start.
With this, IDEMITSU Honda Racing India continues strong in the Top 7 teams of the AP 250 class.
Meanwhile, the reigning AP 250 champion Andy Muhammad Fadly from Indonesia finished on top with 19:15:688 as Muklada Sarapuech from Honda Racing Thailand took a loose corner in the last lap costing her 2 positions while Japanese rider Aiki Iyoshi finished 2nd.
Sharing an overview on today’s qualifier, Mr. Prabhu Nagaraj, Vice President – Brand and Communications, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. said, “Today it’s a happy day! We’ve reached the first step of our target top 10 finish. Looking at both rider and coach feedback, we’re confident of Rajiv’s potential. He’s earned 14 points in 3 races which is a major improvement over the 7 points he earned in 2018 complete season. Now its time for Rajiv to aim much higher. We were expecting Senthil too in top 15. But while he fell back, he fought back very well. We are delighted to be the first Indian team to finish in top 10 in AP250 race. Tomorrow, we will challenge ourselves harder to better our position even more.”
Delighted with his performance today and charged up for tomorrow, Honda’s third timer ARRC rider Rajiv Sethu said, “Everything is going in good direction. Thanks to my IDEMITSU Honda Racing India team, I am feeling stronger on track with the training, expert coach feedback and the full technical team backing me. I achieved my goal for today to break into the Top 10 for the first time. But now that I am here, I have to change my race craft to target higher.”
Meanwhile, the 18-year-old rookie rider Senthil Kumar said, “I am feeling disappointed today. I improved my braking today but I was too tense before the race. That reflected in my result today. Tomorrow, my target is to stay calm and avoid aggressiveness in lap 1 which cost me dear today.
I’m challenging myself to finish in top 15 tomorrow.”
IDEMITSU Honda Racing India @ AP 250 class of FIM Asia Road Raci