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This weekend at Sepang the inaugural Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup reaches its conclusion with the final two races of the competition, which commenced back in March in Qatar.
The 22 riders participating in the Cup will have their last two races on Saturday and Sunday on the same weekend as the MotoGP™ World Championship visits Asia for the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
It has been an exciting first season of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup with seven races already having taken place at Losail (Qatar), Sentul (Indonesia), Zhuhai (China), Sepang (Malaysia) and Motegi (Japan). Indeed the riders have already competed at Sepang in September in races five and six of the season.
Going into the last race weekend five riders still have a mathematical chance of becoming the first ever Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup Champions, though the three top riders have a significant points advantage. Yuta Date leads with 121 points, just two points ahead of Kaito Toba and 10 ahead of Ayumu Sasaki.
Sasaki, the youngest of the 22 participants (he turned 14 on 4th October), was the winner in the last race just under two weeks ago at Motegi and of the previous race, the last of the two run at Sepang. Standings leader Date also has two victories to his name whilst Toba has won three times, but scored no points in the season opener in Qatar. In fourth and fifth respectively Takuma Kunimine and Ryo Mizuno could potentially still take the title but are 40 and 46 points behind the Championship leader.
Whilst the Japanese riders dominate the rankings, the Malaysians are showing great progress in the second half of the season, turning their potential into performance. Shafiq Rasol is sixth overall and Adam Norrodin is seventh, with both of them looking forward to racing on home territory again having each reached the Sepang podium on the last visit.
Keep an eye out too for Thai pair Nakarin Atiratphuvapat and Muklada Sarapuech, with Sarapuech already having recovered from a heavy crash at Motegi. Both have shown flashes of their skill with good pace in practice and are looking for good race results.
After Friday Free Practice and Qualifying, the first of the two races scheduled will be held at 4.30pm local time on Saturday, then Sunday’s second and final race will get underway at midday, just before the running of the Moto3™ race.
The Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup activity will continue next week at Sepang on Monday and Tuesday, with over 170 riders invited to participate in the selection event for the second edition of the Cup.
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