Mitani and Ramadhipa take ATC wins in Qatar!

Both riders debuted on the top step of the podium as the latest edition of the Road to MotoGP™ programme

Mitani cruises to debut win ahead of Race 1 podium fight thriller

The first race of the season doesn’t get much better than that if your name is Zen Mitani as the Japanese sophomore stole the show in Qatar to claim a debut win by a commanding seven seconds. In a breathtaking fight for the podium, Riichi Takahira grabbed P2 as rookie Seiryu Ikemgami earned a brilliant P3. The 10th anniversary season of the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup certainly kicked off with a bang!

Mitani pocketed pole position a few hours prior but it was a rapidly launching Ryota Ogiwara who grasped the holeshot with both hands, as the Japanese duo immediately got the hammer down. The gap grew to four seconds before Ogiwara – the race leader – crashed at the fast Turn 12 to hand Mitani a lonely lead. Thankfully, Ogiwara was straight back up on his feet, but it was a disappointing early exit from the race.

From there, it was all about the fight for P2 and P3. Mitani’s advantage was extending lap by lap but a fascinating battle was unfolding between Farish Hafiy, Takahira, Ikegami, Kiandra Ramadhipa, Kiattisak Singhapong, Rintaro Takemoto and Levi Russo. Seven riders all with a shout of a podium finish. 

Coming on the last lap, Hafiy led the group but on the exit of Turn 13, the Malaysian made a small mistake. It was enough to see him drop out of the podium positions though and with two corners to go, Takahira now held the P2 baton. Would anyone pick the Japanese rider’s pocket? Not quite. As Mitani cruised over the line to earn those glorious 25 points, Takahira won the race for P2 as Ikegami just held off Ramadhipa for a debut podium.

The latter – Ikegami’s fellow rookie – was just 0.010s shy of a podium in Qatar, as Singhapong settled for P5. Hafiy was strong throughout but it was P6 in the end for the #19, as Takemoto crossed the line in P7 just 0.6s away from P2. Russo, Sarthak Chavan and Alfonsi Daquigan completed the top 10 in Race 1 of the season. 


Ramadhipa takes maiden win in close-finish classic Race 2

Kiandra Ramadhipa is an Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup race winner after winning a close-finish classic in Race 2 at the Lusail International Circuit. The Indonesian fended off Race 1 winner Zen Mitani, Riichi Takahira and Kiattisak Singhapong as a four-way fight for the win unfolds on Sunday. 

It was déjà vu as the lights went out as Ryota Ogiwara bagged the holeshot from the middle of the second row, with polesitter Mitani slotting into P2 – just as he did around 24 hours earlier. This time though, the duo couldn’t pull clear of the pack as a lead group of six quickly formed at the front. 

The lead was changing regularly before drama unravelled at Turn 1 after a handful of laps. Farish Hafiy was late on the brakes and as Ogiwara – the race leader – tipped his Honda towards the apex, the duo collided. Thankfully, both riders were on their feet but it was race over for the pair. 

This left four riders dicing for the win: Ramadhipa, Mitani, Takahira and Singhapong. As expected, the fight came down to the last lap and as Mitani and Takahira battled each other on the exit of Turn 10, Ramadhipa snuck through to the lead. After expertly executing the final sector, the #7 held off Mitani for the win, with Takahira claiming the final podium spot in P3. Singhapong was just 0.4s away from the victory but missed out on a rostrum in P4. 

Another brilliant battle played out in the race for P5 and winning it was Rikki Henry as the Australian rookie secured a fantastic top five finish. Sarthak Chavan, Levi Russo, Rama Putra, Alfonsi Daquigan and Archie Schmidt were in that fight and finished inside the top 10. 

So after the first two races of the season, Mitani leads the way on 45 points, seven clear of Ramadhipa. Takahira’s two podiums puts him nine points adrift as we now look forward to the Grand Prix of India for Round 2.