Aussie boys off to a good start in Asia Talent Cup

The season opener for the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup took Qatar by storm, with two incredible but very different races.

In the first, it was a classic desert duel to the line between Japanese rider Haruki Noguchi and Indonesian newcomer Mario Aji, won by Noguchi, before a battle royale at the front on Sunday saw Billy van Eerde take the first ever Australian win in the series.

Haruki Noguchi pipped out of the win at Losail by Billy Van Eerde
Haruki Noguchi pipped out of the win at Losail by Billy Van Eerde

Making that win last weekend at Losail all the more special for Van Eerde was the fact that the youngster had a massive crash on Friday with an early prognosis that he might not be able to race on Saturday, let alone Sunday.

Billy Van Eerde was banged up and looking doubtful for the weekend after a massive crash on Friday
Billy Van Eerde was banged up and looking doubtful for the weekend after a massive crash on Friday

Billy defied the odds though to score a seventh place finish on Saturday before winning an exciting duel to the line with race one winner Haruki Noguchi in Sunday’s second bout.

Billy van Eerde leads the Asia Talent Cup field at Losail
Billy van Eerde leads the Asia Talent Cup field at Losail

Now, it’s already gloves off for Round 2.The Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup fly from Qatar back east to Buriram for the next race weekend on their calendar, with the Thai Round of WorldSBK hosting the series from the 23rd to 25th March. Back-to-back, there’s no time to catch your breath.

Last weekend Asia Talent Cup season opener joined the MotoGP event at Losail while this weekend the series joins WorldSBK in Thailand. MotoGP rider Jack Miller was on hand to help celebrate Billy's success last weekend at Losail
Last weekend Asia Talent Cup season opener joined the MotoGP event at Losail while this weekend the series joins WorldSBK in Thailand. MotoGP rider Jack Miller was on hand to help celebrate Billy’s success last weekend at Losail

It will be an important weekend for the early leaders in the Championship, headed by Noguchi, and even more so for the Thai riders on the grid as they ready themselves for their first home round of the season. Later there is another, alongside MotoGP, but this is their first chance for glory on home turf.

Tachakorn Buarsi is currently the leading Thai rider in tenth overall, with 13 points after two solid finishes – and with one weekend already under his belt, he’ll be pushing to move forward on home soil. Likewise will compatriots Kopchal Sae-Liw and Nitipong Saengsawang, who both scored first time out for a good start to their Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup campaigns.

Young Senna Agius also managed to score 13-points in Qatar and arrives in Thailand ninth in the Asia Talent Cup Championship points standings.

 

2018 Asia Talent Cup Championship Points
  1. Haruki Noguchi 45
  2. Billy Van Eerde 34
  3. Mario Aji 33
  4. Toshiki Senda 29
  5. Sho Nishimura 25
  6. Afridza Munandar 21
  7. Agung Fachrul 16
  8. Adenanta Putra 15
  9. Senna Agius 13
  10. Tachakorn Busarsi 13
Losail Asia Talent Cup Race Two
Bill Van Eerde 19 31’28.461 25
Haruki Noguchi 9 +0.013 20
Toshiki Senda 10 +1.282 16

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