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Testing ahead of the 2019 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup is now complete, with Sepang International Circuit having hosted the grid over two days directly following the MotoGP™ test. Dry track conditions greeted the riders, with some veterans and a host of rookies able to get in some good track time ahead of the season opener alongside the Grand Prix of Qatar. Some news came in before conclusion of the test that sees Kopchai Sae-Liw having decided to withdraw from the 2019 Cup, and Danial Sharil – after a big crash at the end of last season – remains sidelined through injury although the Malaysian is expected to return to competition once fit. Of the riders who completed the test - which included a race simulation on Day 2 - one name shone above the rest by the end of action: Indonesian Adenanta Putra.
Putting in an impressive performance, Putra topped the overall combined times by nearly half a second from his nearest competitor, Japanese rider Sho Nishimura, and was consistently one of the quickest. Nishimura also impressed to take P2 overall, but he was only 0.016 ahead of compatriot Takuma Matsuyama as the gap tightened behind Putra. Tatchakorn Buasri was fourth quickest and a further two tenths in arrears as veterans dominated the top, but the first rookie impressively locked out the top five: Herjun Firdaus. The Indonesian newcomer had compatriot and veteran Afridza Munandar for close company, however, with less than half a tenth separating the countrymen.
Warit Thongnoppakun was the first name in another trio close on the timesheets, six tenths off Munandar but with rookie compatriot, Thai rider Piyawat Patoomyos, just 0.018 off and Japanese rookie Shoki Igarashi only another 0.068 in arrears. Reserve rider and wild card Shota Kiuchi completed the top ten.
Harrison Voight of Australia, Ryosuke Bando of Japan, Indonesians Abdul Mutaqim and Hildhan Kusuma and Australian Jacob Roulstone completed the top fifteen, with the pace of the majority of the field showing impressive improvements as those further down the order cut the gap to the front and the frontrunners continued to push.
Australian Luke Power crashed on Day 1 and was deemed unfit for the rest of that day’s action before being reviewed on the morning of Day 2 and heading out to continue his testing, whereas wildcard Harith Zamri of Malaysia crashed on Day 2 and was declared unfit, heading to hospital with a suspected fracture.
That’s it from Sepang after the 2019 competitors had their first taste of the season to come, tune in to the first round of the year from Losail International Circuit in Qatar as the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup open the season competing alongside MotoGP™ from the 8th to 10th March.
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