New to motogp.com?Register here
Sho Nishimura has kicked off the 2019 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup with a perfect performance in Race 1, pulling out all the stops to take the first win of the season in steamrolling style. Behind his dominance at the front it was an almighty battle to complete the podium, with six riders fighting it out for second and Takuma Matsuyama ultimately just beating Warit Thongnoppakun on the line to take second.
At lights out it was a perfect start for Nishimura from pole as Matsuyama got swallowed up slightly from second, and the eventual winner hardly looked back as he started pulling out a gap. Behind him the classic early-lap squabble then began, although Matsuyama and Adenanta Putra were initially able to break away in a duel.
That didn’t last long. Tatchakorn Buasri headed up the group chasing them down, on the attack straight away once the gap had been cut. He brought with him Thongnoppakun and impressive rookies Herjun Firdaus and Piyawat Patoomyos, with wildcard Shota Kiuchi also an impressive presence in the group before sadly sliding out of contention.
As the laps ticked down, Nishimura marched on and the battle raged behind – although the two who’d made a break for it earlier tried to repeat the feat. As the final lap began though, it was as tight as ever in the fight for second and it looked like Putra was in control – until he went wide. Trying to gather it back together he tagged back onto the group as Thongnoppakun started to make his move and slice forward, and the podium came down to the drag to the line. There, Matsuyama just took it – 5.5 seconds off Nishimura’s victory but just 0.020 ahead of Thongnoppakun in an almost photo-finish.
Fourth went to Putra as he managed to fight back through, ahead of rookie sensations Patoomyos and Firdaus. Buasri was left to take seventh although he’ll know there’s a big second chance on Sunday after some top pace.
Shoki Igarashi beat Abdul Mutaquim to eighth, with Australian Luke power completing the top ten. Harrison Voight, Hildhan Kusuma, Idil Mahadi, Syarifuddin Azman and Jacob Roulstone scored points in the first contest of the year.
Tune in for Race 2 at 13:50 (GMT +3) on Sunday for more!