Final stop Sepang: the Cup will be decided in Malaysia!

Van Eerde leads, Noguchi shadows and Sharil is still in with a shot as the season finale of the 2018 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup heats up

The heat is on in the fight for the 2018 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup and everything will be decided in the final round at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. After some stunning duels, battles and drama, it will surely be a fitting end to another awesome year – with the riders already having had a taste of the track this season and the formbook teasing another classic contest.

As we arrive for our second visit to the long, challenging and hot venue, it’s Australian Billy van Eerde who remains ahead. He became the first Indemitsu Asia Talent Cup race winner from Australia in the first round of the year in Qatar, and his second victory? That came at Sepang, where the youngster took second in Race 1 and victory in Race 2 earlier in the year. It makes good reading for van Eerde, whose key rival Haruki Noguchi has a deficit of 12 points as he fights for the Cup – and the Japanese rider only took a third place on their first visit to the track.

Meanwhile Malaysian Danial Sharil remains in with a shot at the crown. It’s a long one as he’s currently 42 points back and there are only 50 on the table, but as the IATC has proved, anything can happen. He’s now a race winner and has done the double in the Cup, and he’s racing on home turf so he’ll most definitely be in the fight, and probably from the off – with the Malaysian having taken four holeshots in the last four races.

Sho Nishimura is another to watch and although out of contention for the crown, he took a second place on the previous visit to Sepang. Mario Aji won a race in the previous Malaysian round, too, and the Indonesian will want to get back on the form that saw him spectacular at Sepang. Tachakorn Buarsi of Thailand is gaining momentum, Takuma Matsuyama did a stunning double at Motegi and the likes of Agung Fachrul, Lucky Hendriansya and Afridza Munandar have all had pace – they now need to convert it into points.

This is it. Five rounds and ten races have been decided so far, and it’s Billy van Eerde in the driving seat. Will he be crowned the 2018 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup Champion in Sepang? Or can Noguchi bounce back, or home hero Sharil stage a final stand? All will be revealed in Race 1 on Saturday at 16:30 (GMT +8), before the last race of the season on Sunday at 10:30am. And that’s not even all the action – check out the latest from the 2019 Selection Event before the race weekend, too, as prospective competitors show us what they’ve got on Tuesday and Wednesday.