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It was pole man Andi Izdihar who took his third win of the 2016 Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup in Race 1 at Sepang on Saturday, with the Indonesian rider joined on the podium by Japanese pair Kazuki Masaki and Yuki Kunii, who finished second and third respectively.
The riders raced on slick tyres in a 13-lap contest which was not affected by rain, dispite persistant showers earlier in the day at the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Cup standings leader Ai Ogura did not get the best start and could not reach the front, with pole starter Izdihar leading the way. Brothers Can Oncu and Deniz Oncu both got away well, the Turkish siblings flying off the grid to make up several positions each. Meanwhile, Gerry Salim suffered an early crash dashing his title dreams.Can Oncu took over the lead of the race with Somkiat Chantra and Izdihar following him as the trio pulled away at the front. Behind them Ogura was making a comeback as he worked his way through the field and then there was drama as Izdihar almost crashed and fell back from Oncu and Chantra.
The drama intensified three laps from the end as Can Oncu and Chantra crashed out, when fighting for the lead. That left Izdihar clear at the front on his own to finish the race with a third win of the year, ahead of Masaki and Kunii. Ogura crossed the line fourth after overtaking Deniz Oncu on the last lap, with Ryusei Yamanaka in sixth.
With Sunday’s title deciding race to come, Ogura leads the Cup standings on 173 points, with Izdihar six points behind him in second. On 154 points in third Yamanaka is still in with a shot of taking the Cup, as is fourth placed Chantra on 153 points.
Alberto Puig, Director of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup, reviewed the penultimate race of the 2016 season, saying, “It was a very interesting race and it's a pity for Can Oncu and Chantra. Both crashed when they were leading the race. At the beginning it was very tricky because of the conditions of the track but we decided to go with slick tyres and that was a good choice. For tomorrow Ogura has an advantage on points but you never know, this is racing and anything could happen.”
The final 13-lap race of the 2016 Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup takes place at 4.30pm local time on Sunday.
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