Thompson and Danish claim ATC victories in Sepang

The penultimate round of the season didn’t disappoint, as we head to Indonesia with three points splitting the top two

Race 1: Thompson takes first win as Danish crashes from the lead

Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup Race 1 in Sepang didn't disappoint, with a three-rider battle to the line seeing Carter Thompson come out on top for his first ATC win. The Australian held off a last corner attack from Gun Mie as the Japanese rider was then relegated to third, with Rei Wakamatsu taking second.

Big drama earlier in the race hit for former points leader Hakim Danish as he crashed out from the race lead, rider ok after a check-up in the Medical Centre. Buriram winner Veda Ega Pratama then took a tumble as he was pushing to catch the fight for victory, leaving two key players taking home nil points from Saturday.

Thompson got the perfect start from pole to take the early lead, but Danish hit quickly to take over. He pushed to make a gap and looked to be controlling the race before crashing out, leaving Thompson, Mie and Wakamatsu battling for the win and not just the rostrum. That went down to the final corner after Thompson had taken the lead at Turn 1 on the final lap, with Mie heading round the outside but then overcooking it. Thompson cut back and hit the gas to the line, taking his first victory. Wakamatsu kept his powder dry in second, with Mie able to gather it back up and take third.

Shinya Ezawa was able to take a valuable fourth place and with it the points lead as Danish crashed out, with some clear air for the Japanese rookie too. Behind there was a group battle won by Amon Odaki in fifth, ahead of Marianos Nikolis right from the back of the grid. Farish Hafiy and Hamad al-Sahouti took P7 and P8, close on the chase.

Behind them, Reykat Fadillah took P9, with Diandra Trihardika and Farres Putra for close company.

Race 2: Danish takes last gasp victory on home turf

Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup Race 2 went down to the wire on Sunday at Sepang, with home hero Hakim Danish coming out on top after a final corner attack. The Malaysian recovered from a moment of grasstracking just before he made the move and lost the lead, hitting back to defeat Veda Ega Pratama by just 0.047. Shinya Ezawa completed the podium in the damp conditions on Sunday morning, with Race 1 winner Carter Thompson crashing out on the final lap, rider ok.

Off the line it was a lottery for the holeshot but Gun Mie took it, the number 5 impressively late on the brakes and drama free to boot. Still, it became a lead group of six of Mie, Thompson, Pratama, Ezawa, Danish and Wakamatsu, and that it remained until late on.

Then, it became a duel for the win as Pratama and Danish started the final lap glued together. And despite his short excursion - clearly losing out and dropping the lead to Pratama on the run to the final corner - Danish was able to hit back and attack, opening the throttle for the drag to the line and just holding on for the win by 0.047.

As those behind faded slightly and Thompson crashed out, rider ok, Ezawa managed to hold onto third for some valuable points, but not quite enough to retain the overall lead. It's Danish back on top with a margin of just three heading into the final round.

Fourth in Race 2 went to Wakamatsu as he stayed within a fair margin of Ezawa, with Mie fading late on to a few seconds off his compatriots. The number 5 is now therefore 35 off the top with 50 points remaining, now staring down a long shot at the crown.

Hamad al-Sahouti moved through to sixth with some clear air, of which the same is true of Thanakorn Lakharn in seventh. Reykat Fadillah, Emil Izdhar and Jakkreephat Phuettisan completed the top ten in a close trio at the flag.

An early crash saw Cameron Swain, Marianos Nikolis and Amon Odaki go down and out of contention for solid points, riders ok.

That's a wrap on Sepang and now there's only one round and 50 points left in play in the 2022 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup. Come back for more at Mandalika from the 11th to the 13th of November - with Danish just three points ahead of Ezawa heading in!

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