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By Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup

Can Öncu fast and faultless to complete the double

Turkish rider takes Race 2 to make it a full house at Sepang

Tags ATC, 2017

Can Öncü followed up his domination of Race 1 at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia with another stunning performance to complete the double, leading brother Deniz Öncü home. Japanese rider Ryusei Yamanaka completed the podium.

After rain fell on the grid there was drama from the off, and they duly changed tyres and prepared to race in the wet. The race was also shortened to 11 laps, but conditions were quickly drying – and everyone was in the same boat.

Off the line it was Yamanaka who looked to be away in the lead, but Can Öncü swept back through out of Turn 1 to head the race from the Japanese rider and Deniz Öncü. Yamanaka pounced for the lead on Lap 3 as the top three battled it out, proving Race 2 was going to write a very different storyline to Race 1 – certainly in the beginning.

It wasn’t long before home hero Azroy Anuar had managed to close down the leading trio, but as the laps ticked down Can Öncü started to pull away from those chasing. Once again calm under the pressure of the race lead, the young Turk made a gap and crossed the line comfortably clear to complete the double on the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup’s first visit to Sepang this year.

Deniz Öncü had been the closest to his twin brother but then fell back into the claws of those on the chase, just managing to stay ahead of Yamanaka over the line as the Japanese rider completed the podium. After his heroics in Race 1, home hero Azroy Anuar was forced to settle for fourth but showed more impressive pace.

The battle for fifth was another trio, with points leader Haruki Noguchi, Koji Hirama and Race 1 podium finisher Gerry Salim head-to-head for the honour. Drama then struck mid-race as Hirama slid out from the lead of the trio, leaving Salim and Noguchi down to a duel for P5 and the Japanese youngster taking it at the flag, retaining the lead in the Championship standings. Salim was P6 after a podium in Race 1.

Indonesian Lucky Hendriansya had a lonely ride into seventh behind his compatriot, with another Indonesian – Erfin Firmansyah – taking eighth. Ninth was Kritchaporn Kaewsonthi, making up for a disappointing end to Race 1 as the Thai rider beat Koki Suzuki over the line by less than a tenth.

Takuto Suzuki took P11, with Malaysian Haziq Hamdan taking P12 on home soil. Australian Reid Battye was thirteenth ahead of another Malaysian – Syairul Suhaimi – with Koko Tadachi from the Philippines completing the top fifteen.

The Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup gets back on track at Motegi in October, racing as part of the MotoGP™ weekend at the legendary Japanese venue.

Hiroshi Aoyama, Asia Talent Scout: “It was a difficult race for the riders, because it started to rain on the grid so we had to stop and change tyres. When they were back on the grid again, the conditions weren’t full dry or full wet but we had to use rain tyres. But the tyre choice was the same for everyone. They were difficult conditions for the tyres but they were staying constant. Can had a great race, wet or dry doesn’t matter, and Deniz – he was feeling sick before and last night, but even like that he was fighting to the end. And Yamanaka, who wasn’t happy yesterday, pushed a bit more. He tried to pass Deniz but was a bit over the limit. But they all had quite a good race! We want to thank all the staff and support from Honda and Idemitsu – it was a great race and we’re looking forward to Motegi. After these two races the Championship is closer and we have races to go – so we’ll see who will take that, and how the riders improve towards the end of the season.”