Besides from MotoGP races at Austria last weekend, there is another racing occasion in our region; Asia Road Racing Championship. The race took place at Sentul International Circuit, Indonesia for round 4 of the championship calendar.
All eyes focused on two senior riders from Malaysia – Azlan Shah Manual Tech Kawasaki who currently leading the championship, Zaqhwan Zaidi MUSASHI Boon Siew Honda who marked fastest time during qualifying and not to forget young talent from Petronas Sprinta; Kasma Daniel who got an opportunity as a wild card rider for this round. From Free Practice session, Kasma focused more on getting comfortable with the bike and avoid taking too much risk during qualifying posted best time for 16th on the grid. As for Azlan Shah, everything seems went against him this time. He mentioned that the bike had some problems resulting in slower pace as he only managed to achieve 9th place on the grid during qualifying. Contrasting from the two other Malaysian Riders, Zaqhwan Zaidi was exceptional as he posted fastest time of the weekend granting him the pole position.
For Race 1, Zaqhwan encountered huge pressure from the other riders in the front group. He gave everything that he had to keep himself in front but the race ended by Zaqhwan in 4th place. Starting from the back of the grid, Azlan Shah and Kasma Daniel rode courageously to finish 7th and 11th for Race 1.
[Azlan Shah confirmed the problem he had with the bike]
On Sunday for Race 2, Zaqhwan determined to redeem himself for previous race. As soon as the red lights went out, he dashed forward leaving all the other riders behind. Hopes held high for him to finish first as he was leading with a huge gap from the other riders on the field. But the dream shattered when he made a mistake in turn 1 resulting a red flag and Zaqhwan was given a medical attention immediately. The race restarted in wet condition. Azlan Shah still struggled with the bike, unable to defend his place and only managed to finish 9th after intense battle with the mid pack. Later on, he disclosed that the bike was having a revving issue and the team was unable to work out of the problem before the race started. In Race 2, Kasma Daniel display tremendous effort overtaking one by one riders in front of him. He was fearless even the track was wet and from 16th place, he worked himself up to finish 5th.
[Zaqhwan Zaidi after receiving medical attention from a huge crash in Race 2]
Round 4 wrapped up with Azlan Shah still being on top of the championship and Zaqhwan Zaidi in 4th place. It’s a shame that our riders unable to stand tall on the podium but take this as a valuable admonition for a better race next round. Kasma Daniel shows great potential of him and we wish all the best and may he bloom to be a great rider.
[Kasma Daniel as a wild card rider for Petronas Sprinta Racing Team]