Voight, Power and Roulstone kick off Asia Talent Cup season with Sepang Test
The Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup returns once again in 2019, marking the sixth season of the Road to MotoGP feeder program selecting promising young riders from the Asia-Pacific region to take part. Seven riders return this year, while 14 rookies fill the ranks and Harrison Voight, Luke Power and Jacob Roulstone represent Australia.
The competitors, aged 12 to 19, have been handpicked at an annual IATC Selection Event at Sepang International Circuit and represent Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Turkey.
They’ll be competing on Honda NSF250R Moto3 machinery to see who has what it takes to become the IATC Champion and once again, they’ll benefit from the vast experience of Asia Talent Cup Director Alberto Puig and his team of experts as they aim to both win and learn.
Kicking off the season was the first test of the year at the Sepang International Circuit, which hosted the grid over two days directly following the MotoGP test with Harrison Voight and Jacob Roulstone completing testing in the top 15, while Luke Power suffered a Day 1 crash, before being cleared to head back out on track on Day 2.
Dry track conditions greeted the riders, with some veterans and a host of rookies able to get in some good track time ahead of the season opener alongside the Grand Prix of Qatar.
Some news came in before conclusion of the test that sees Kopchai Sae-Liw withdraw from the 2019 Cup, and Danial Sharil – after a big crash at the end of last season – remains sidelined through injury although the Malaysian is expected to return to competition once fit.
Of the riders who completed the test – which included a race simulation on Day 2 – one name shone above the rest by the end of action, Indonesian Adenanta Putra.
Putting in an impressive performance, Putra topped the overall combined times by nearly half a second from his nearest competitor, Japanese rider Sho Nishimura, and was consistently one of the quickest.
Nishimura also impressed to take P2 overall, but he was only 0.016 ahead of compatriot Takuma Matsuyama as the gap tightened behind Putra. Tatchakorn Buasri was fourth quickest and a further two tenths in arrears as veterans dominated the top, but the first rookie impressively locked out the top five – Herjun Firdaus.
The Indonesian newcomer had compatriot and veteran Afridza Munandar for close company, however, with less than half a tenth separating the countrymen.
Warit Thongnoppakun was the first name in another trio close on the timesheets, six tenths off Munandar but with rookie compatriot, Thai rider Piyawat Patoomyos, just 0.018 off and Japanese rookie Shoki Igarashi only another 0.068 in arrears. Reserve rider and wild card Shota Kiuchi completed the top ten.
Harrison Voight of Australia, Ryosuke Bando of Japan, Indonesians Abdul Mutaqim and Hildhan Kusuma and Australian Jacob Roulstone completed the top fifteen, with the pace of the majority of the field showing impressive improvements as those further down the order cut the gap to the front and the frontrunners continued to push.
Australian Luke Power crashed on Day 1 and was deemed unfit for the rest of that day’s action before being reviewed on the morning of Day 2 and heading out to continue his testing, whereas wildcard Harith Zamri of Malaysia crashed on Day 2 and was declared unfit, heading to hospital with a suspected fracture.
That’s it from Sepang after the 2019 competitors had their first taste of the season to come, tune in to the first round of the year from Losail International Circuit in Qatar as the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup open the season competing alongside MotoGP from the 8th to 10th March.
Asia Talent Cup 2019
After a test at Sepang in February, the 2019 Cup commences at Losail International Circuit in Qatar as the series kicks off racing alongside the MotoGP season opener in March. It’s a quick turnaround for Round 2 as the IATC heads for Buriram in Thailand the following weekend, this time alongside WorldSBK, with the season then hitting the mid-point at Sepang in June alongside the Malaysian Superbike Championship.
Then it’s back to the MotoGP paddock as the IATC complete their season alongside the Grands Prix in Thailand, Japan and Malaysia in October and November, with 10 of the 12
races once again taking place on the same stages as MotoGP and World Superbike. The season finale at Sepang is bound to be another showstopper, with the Cup often going down to the final round, the final lap – and even the final corner
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