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Andi Izdihar takes first race at Sepang

Andi Izdihar takes first race at Sepang

Izdihar has now taken back-to-back wins to become the first Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup rider of the 2016 season to win more than once.

It was a return to the familiar for riders in the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup, back at Sepang where they had testing before the season started. Several of the main protagonists of the series were back after having done several races in Europe, expectations were high.

Kazuki Masaki was able to snatch pole position with a time of 2’21.705, beating Andi Izdihar by just 0.139s. Ai Ogura made it two Japanese riders on the front row, ending 0.172s back on his compatriot. It was a difficult session for championship leader Gerry Salim who was only able to qualify in sixth.

The race got off to a faultless start as all the riders launched forward, no incidents of jump starts occurring. Familiar names shot to the front as Izdihar had the likes of Salim and championship rival Somkiat Chantra hot on his heels. Slowly a group began to emerge as riders upped their pace, the majority going faster than in Qualifying.

Throughout the race there were five falls, though none of the riders involved sustained any serious injuries.

While drama unfolded behind and many riders struggled to stay upright, Andi Izdihar broke the group following him and eventually crossed the line half a second clear of Ryusei Yamanaka. Izdihar has now taken back-to-back to become the first Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup rider of the 2016 season to win more than once. For Yamanaka, second matched his best result of the season so far.

Completing the podium was Gerry Salim, 0.710s behind his fellow Indonesian. It was a more spread out race than is usual in the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup, riders using their knowledge of the circuit to work at their own pace. Somkiat Chantra and Ai Ogura had a great battle for four place which went down to the wire, Chantra coming out on top.

Gerry Salim remains atop the championship thanks to his third place, 87 points putting him six clear of Chantra. Yamanaka jumps up to third place, pushing his countrymen Ogura to fourth. Despite now taking two wins, Izdihar remains fifth but is only ten points off the championship lead.

Alberto Puig, Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup Director:  "The race was OK, not the same pace than last year but we saw a great fighting on the front group. The top rider could finish the race without crashes and that’s always important. To be honest the fastest was Masaki but he was unlucky at the end. I hope that tomorrow we will be a bit faster and we will work for this. The constancy is one of the keys in this kind of Cups and Salim is doing a good job this year and let’s see his performance in the next race".

Tags:
SAATC, 2016, WSBK SEPANG

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