Gloves off: Round 1 kicks off in Qatar!

A new year of the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup begins soon and another stunning season awaits

Since inception, the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup has consistently created some of the closest and most exciting racing on the planet – and there’s no reason to believe that’s about to stop now. After testing at Sepang the stage is set and the rookies and veterans alike are headed for Losail International Circuit to contest the first 50 points of the year.

Asia Talent Cup

It was the experienced Adenanta Putra of Indonesia who topped testing by a margin, followed by Sho Nishimura and Takuma Matsuyama of Japan, who were split by almost nothing. Then came Tatchakorn Buasri of Thailand, but it was a rookie who completed the top five: Indonesian Herjun Firdaus. He showed the new names on the Entry List can certainly have a key say in the Cup, as did a number of other rookies who hit the ground running. But do the testing timesheets at Sepang tell the whole story ahead of Qatar?

Last year Nishimura was on the podium in Round 1 so he’ll be walking tall into Losail International Circuit as he bids to repeat the feat as a minimum, but Putra had some solid results too – as did Afridza Munandar, who was sixth in testing. There’s also the simple advantage of knowing the track, although the rookies who tackled the behemoth of Sepang to much success will be aware of their potential pace in getting up to speed…

Six left- and ten right-handers await, with a tantalisingly long straight of over a kilometre promising some incredible slipstreaming action to boot. Who will be the first leader of the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup in 2019? Find out in Race 1 on Saturday 9th March at 15:35 local time (GMT +3), before Race 2 gets underway at 12:50 on Sunday for another 14 laps of Losail. 

Watch every 2019 race LIVE & OnDemand and enjoy the whole video library, including technical features, exclusives interviews and classic races, with the MotoGP™ VideoPass