Thai delight: Phuettisan claims dream home turf victory
The Thai star came out on top in a phenomenal five-rider battle that went to the final corner as Ezawa and Odaki stand on the Race 1 rostrum in Buriram
Jakkreephat Phuettisan is an Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup race winner as the Thai rider comes out on top of an unbelievable fiver rider fight for home turf victory at the Chang International Circuit. The race was won – and lost – at the final corner as Shinya Ezawa and Amon Odaki claimed P2 and P3, with Zen Mitani and Veda Pratama less than a second away from the win in P4 and P5 respectively.
For the third time in four rounds, Pratama stuck his machine on pole and got a great launch as the lights went out. Once Ryota Ogiwara had served his two Long Lap penalties, a group of five riders quickly formed at the front and for the entire race, the lead and podium places were changing lap by lap, corner by corner.
Pratama was keen to make sure he was the leader at any given moment and heading onto the final lap, the Championship leader was doing exactly that. But Phuettisan, Ezawa, Mitani and Odaki were right in the hunt. Pratama led out of Turn 11 but both Phuettisan and Ezawa were up the inside into Turn 12 – the final corner.
Phuettisan got the move done as Ezawa and Pratama made contact at the apex. Ezawa came out of the small clash better as Pratama did well to keep himself on the bike, but it was a moment that cost the five-time 2023 winner a podium. Phuettisan took the chequered flag in P1 to win his first ATC race, as Ezawa and Odaki won the battle for the final two podium spots.
Importantly for his title chances, Mitani capitalised on Pratama’s Turn 12 drama to claim two points back on the latter, with the points difference now sitting at 55 points. That means Pratama can’t win the 2023 title on Sunday in Thailand, but he’ll be aiming to bounce back in Race 2.
Riichi Takahira edged out the recovering Ogiwara as the Japanese duo picked up P6 and P7, as Marianos Nikolis, wildcard Kiattisak Singhapong and Reykat Fadilah completed the top 10.
Pratama returns to winning ways in Buriram epic
Race 2 saw the Indonesian take a giant leap towards claiming the 2023 title as he beats Odaki and Phuettisan to victory in Thailand
One hand and four fingers are what Veda Pratama has on the 2023 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup winner’s trophy after rebounding from Race 1’s final corner disappointment to win on Sunday morning in Thailand. Amon Odaki and Saturday winner Jakkreephat Phuettisan claimed podiums as Zen Mitani and Shinya Ezawa crashed out of the lead group.
Launching well from pole position again, Pratama grabbed the holeshot ahead of Phuettisan as a battle for the podium places and race lead began to rage from Lap 1. In the early stages, the top 15 were split by just over two seconds but heading into the final handful of laps, a top seven had formed – Pratama, Odaki, Phuettisan, Mitani, Ezawa, Ryota Ogiwara and Shinya Ezawa.
Drama then unfolded with five laps to go. Mitani, running in P2, highsided out of contention on the exit of Turn 7 and unable to avoid the Japanese rider’s stricken machine, Ezawa crashed out too. Both riders were taken to the medical centre for a check-up.
That left five riders fighting for the race win. Pratama led onto the final lap and held station until Odaki made a creative move stick at Turn 9, as once again it came down to the final corner. Odaki went defensive but was slightly too deep, which allowed Pratama to take a wider, sweeping, cutback line – and it was a move that handed the Indonesian a sixth victory of the season.
Odaki was less than a tenth away from victory, with Phuettisan claiming P3 to cap off a wonderful weekend for the Thai rider on home soil.
Ogiwara and Takahira narrowly missed out on the podium in P4 and P5 respectively, as Farish Hafiy, Marianos Nikolis, Farres Putra and Reykat Fadilah battled it out inside the top 10, with Hamad Al-Sahouti finishing P10 a couple of seconds off the group ahead.
So that’s it from Thailand! A home race winner and Pratama taking a huge step towards being crowned Champion made Round 4 a memorable one, as we look ahead to the penultimate round of the season taking place in Malaysia.