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Can Öncü was unstoppable from pole position in Race 1 for the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup at Sepang International Circuit, briefly challenged off the line and then ahead in the distance for a stunning victory. After an exciting battle to complete the podium, home hero Azroy Anuar took P2 in Malaysia, with Gerry Salim coming home third.
Denis Öncü got the best start off the front row to head into Turn 1 ahead, but then went wide and was unable to keep the place, slotting back into the order just off the front. That left Can Öncü in the lead, and he soon pulled the pin to cross the line after Lap 1 with a healthy gap - head down and focused.
Five riders formed a second group in the early stages, with Gerry Salim battling points leader Haruki Noguchi, Denis Öncü, Azroy Anuar and Ryusei Yamanaka. Some incredible wheel-to-wheel action saw the order switching lap after lap.
By Lap 4, the polesitter had a three second gap ahead of the pack and it would only grow for most of the race – he was five ahead with five laps left – before he crossed the line just over four seconds clear for a stunning win.
Just behind, Malaysian home hero Anuar had managed to break free of the group fighting for second and crossed the line with a gap of eight tenths back to the podium battle. It was then Indonesian Gerry Salim who emerged victorious in that fight from the final corner, locking out the rostrum. Noguchi was fourth, with Yamanaka and Deniz Öncü completing the top six. Noguchi therefore retains the lead in the Championship.
Koji Hirama had a lonely, solid ride into P7, with a three-rider battle for eighth raging behind between Genki Nakajima, Takuto Suzuki and Thai rider Kritchaporn Kaewsonthi. Nakajima pulled a gap on Suzuki by the flag to take P8, with Kaewsonthi not able to see the line after a late crash and the top ten instead completed by Indonesian rider Lucky Hendriansya.
Erfin Firmansyah, Koki Suzuki, Kai Saito, Malaysian Haziq Hamdan on home turf and Bima Arfin locked out the top fifteen.
There’s more action from Sepang on Sunday with Race 2. As always all of the action can be followed on YouTube.
Hiroshi Aoyama, Asia Talent Scout: “I think we had a beautiful and clean Race 1 at Sepang, so congratulations to Can Öncü. He was fast from qualifying and we expected he might be able to go away – he made a good start and kept his rhythm. The other guys tried to follow him but Yamanaka, Anuar, Deniz and Salim were struggling to follow and started to fight – so they lost a few tenths per lap. But it was a really nice race from Can Öncü, and Anuar fought a lot to get away from the group. Salim almost crashed but then at the last corner passed them. Those riders did a great race and we’ll see how they go in Race 2. But everyone was really fast compared to the last few years.”