Rookie Taiyo Furusato tops testing at Sepang

The Japanese rider was quickest out the blocks, ahead of Hamada and Voight

Two days of testing for the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup has now concluded at Sepang International Circuit and it’s Japanese rider Taiyo Furusato who begins 2020 on top, with the rookie seriously impressing on his debut. More experienced compatriot Kanta Hamada was second overall, just 0.061 back, with Australian Harrison Voight completing the top three.

On Day 1, it was Syarifuddin Azman who was fastest in the near-perfect conditions. The Malaysian left it until late in the day – the eighth 20-minute session of track time – but topped the timesheets by 0.172 from Harrison Voight. Those two are veterans, but rookie Taiyo Furusato was already up into P3 on Tuesday and impressing, ahead of fellow Japanese rider Gun Mie. The experienced Herjun Firdaus from Indonesia completed the top five. 

On Day 2, the conditions were slightly cooler and cloudier but the rain stayed away once again, allowing the grid to get in another six 20-minute sessions – followed by a race simulation and race start. By the end of play Furusato was again a headline act as the Japanese rookie’s 2:16.863 sees him top the combined timesheets, with Hamada running him close to make it a 1-2 for Japan. Harrison Voight was third overall, but 0.379 from the top.

Gun Mie was fourth, Azman ended the test fifth overall and Firdaus sixth. Shoki Igarashi took seventh, with rookies Sharul Sharil, Fadillah Aditama and Herlian Dandi completing the top ten. 

Thurakij Buapa of Thailand was P11 overall, with Indian rookie Mikail Salih only half a tenth behind and taking 12th. Azyran Wahyumaniadi, Watcharin Tubtimon and Thanakorn Lakharn lock out the fastest fifteen, although the returning Rei Wakamatsu and Australian rookie Carter Thompson were within two tenths of what would be a points-scoring position in a race. No mean feat, as 18 riders went faster on Day 2.

There were incidents and crashes for many on the grid during the test, but all riders were ok and back out with two exceptions. Max Gibbons suffered a compressed vertebra as a result of a Day 1 fall and didn’t ride on Wednesday, before Alfred Sablaya of the Philippines crashed and injured his hand on Day 2, with surgery planned.

That’s all for now from Sepang. The IATC will be back in action in a few weeks in Qatar as they gear up for Round 1 at Losail International Circuit, racing alongside MotoGP™ from the 6th to the 8th March.

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