Deniz Oncu dominates Asia Talent Cup Round 1 in Thailand
Aussie rider Reid Battye sees improvement between races as he becomes accustomed to his new machine

Deniz Oncu set the standards high in the first round of the Asia Talent Cup in Thailand, run alongside the WSBK round over the weekend, mirroring Jonathan Rea’s results to take a double win and full points as the first round came to a close.

Asia Talent Cup - Thailand - Reid Battye
Asia Talent Cup – Thailand – Reid Battye

Lone Australian rider Reid Battye had a challenging opening weekend, finishing the first race of the weekend, and season, in 17th.

Battye went on to improve on this result for Race Two, taking 14th position and claiming his first championship points for the series. 

Asia Talent Cup - Thailand - Reid Battye preparing in his pit garage
Asia Talent Cup – Thailand – Reid Battye preparing in his pit garage
Reid Battye

“My first weekend of racing in the Asia Talent Cup was tough. I learnt so much from just the one weekend in an international event. My positions for the races weren’t the best but we kept on improving. This round was a massive learning curve for me as I learnt the bike, track and the team. I think I can keep going, step by step, and for the the next round push for much better positions.”

Deniz Oncu wins opening Asia Talent Cup race in Thailand

Deniz Oncu of Turkey took an impressive first victory of the year – and first victory in the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup – in Race 1 at Buriram, Thailand, crossing the line with a little breathing space ahead of a tight fight between Malaysian Azroy Anuar and Japanese rider Ryusei Yamanaka in a thrilling opener to the 2017 Cup.

Asia Talent Cup - Thailand - Deniz Oncu in the lead in Race 1
Asia Talent Cup – Thailand – Deniz Oncu in the lead in Race 1

Qualifying saw Yuki Kunii of Japan starting on pole after a session that ended marginally early following a Red Flag with only 48 seconds left on the clock. A crash for Maxi Hattori was the catalyst, who was declared fit following the incident, but one rider absent from the start was number 19 Syairul Yuslie Bin Suhaimi – who was declared unfit with a fracture in his foot.

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With air temperatures in the mid-thirties and track temp even higher, the much-anticipated lights out saw veteran Ryusei Yamanaka lead into Turn 1, before polesitter Kunii hit back. So began a Japanese 1-2-3 in the lead group as Haraki Noguchi joined, with Anuar and local hero at Buriram Kritchaporn Kaewsonthi tucked in just behind.

Turkey’s Deniz Oncu was then able to close the gap to the first group, getting into the fight at the front before the field then closed and a lead freight train of riders began to form. As the laps ticked on and the group fought it out, the more experienced in the field made it a game of tactics and positioning – aware the points are scored as they cross the line.

Despite running well wide at one point earlier in the race, it was Deniz Oncu who crossed that line first – converting early race pace and experience into a stunning break in the last laps to take his first win in style, ahead of the chasing pack by just over half a second at the flag.

Azroy Anuar converted his pace throughout testing and qualifying into a P2 to kick off his 2017 campaign, with Ryusei Yamanaka right on the tail of his Malaysian rival over the line in an incredibly close battle to decide the final two places on the podium.

Asia Talent Cup - Thailand - Race 1 checkered flag
Asia Talent Cup – Thailand – Race 1 checkered flag

WorldSSP rider and compatriot Zulfahmi Khairuddin was waiting for Anuar in parc ferme to offer his congratulations, before reigning WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea also dropped in to congratulate winner Deniz Oncu.

Local hero Kritchaporn Kaewsonthi kept it on the road after having crashed during a race simulation in testing, and the Thai rider just missed the podium but impressed at home to take P4 in the first race weekend of the year. Indonesian Gerry Salim made it five nationalities in the top five, crossing the line behind Kaewsonthi by an incredibly tight margin of 0.021.

Asia Talent Cup - Thailand - Deniz Oncu wins Race 1 and 2, to make it two wins of two races for the weekend
Asia Talent Cup – Thailand – Deniz Oncu wins Race 1 and 2, to make it two wins of two races for the weekend

Haraki Noguchi, Can Oncu, and early leader Yuki Kunii took sixth to eighth respectively as the final riders in the front freight train, with Irfan Ardiansyah having a more lonely ride to come home in ninth. Takuto Suzuki crossed the line in tenth after a duel with Lucky Hendriansya, who followed the Japanese rider home by just under two tenths.

Maxi Hattori, second Thai entry Passawit Thitivarak, Erfin Firmansyah and Haziq Hamdan completed the top fifteen in the first race. There were two riders not classified – Koji Hirama and Koki Suzuki.

Asia Talent Cup Race 1, Round 1, Thailand Results
  1. ONCU, Deniz – TUR
  2. ANUAR, Azroy – MAS
  3. YAMANAKA, Rysuei – JPN
  4. KAEWSONTHI, Kritchaporn – THA
  5. SALIM, Gerry – INA
  6. NOGUCHI, Haraki – JPN
  7. ONCU, Can – TUR
  8. KUNII Yuki, – JPN
  9. ARDIANSYAH, Irfan – INA
  10. SUZUKI, Takuto – JPN
  11. HENDRIANSYA, Lucky – INA
  12. HATTORI, Maxi – JPN
  13. THITIVARAK, Passawit – THA
  14. FIRMANSYAH, Erfin – INA
  15. HAMDAN, Haziq – MAS
  16. SAITO, Kai – JPN
  17. BATTYE, Reid – AUS
  18. TADACHI, Koko – PHI
  19. HAKIM, Riefsa – INA
  20. ARFIN, Bima – INA
  21. SUROJO, Surya – INA

Deniz Oncu takes the double win at opening Asia Talent Round
Reid Battye improves on Race 1 results, with 14th in Race 2

Race 1 winner Deniz Oncu took his second victory in the second race of the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup in 2017, following up a stunning first win on Saturday to cross the line ahead once again on Sunday. Japanese riders Ryusei Yamanaka and Haraki Noguchi completed the podium.

Asia Talent Cup - Thailand - Deniz Oncu wins Race 2
Asia Talent Cup – Thailand – Deniz Oncu wins Race 2

After drama ahead of the formation lap for Race 1 podium finisher Azroy Anuar as the Malaysian was wheeled into pitlane, the front row of the grid headed through T1 in reverse order, with Japanese rider Yamanaka taking the hole shot.

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It wasn’t long before Race 1 winner Deniz Oncu got back in the mix to take over at the front, however, with another long front group forming to fight it out for Race 2 – and Anuar was given a ride through penalty that took the Race 1 podium finisher straight out of contention.

After a stint out front for Indonesian Lucky Hendriansya, Yamanaka and compatriots Yuki Kunii and Haraki Noguchi took over at the head of the train by 10 laps to go – with Race 1 winner Deniz Oncu and brother Can Oncu soon up into the mix. After position swapped and changed for another few laps, it was an Oncu 1-2 going into the final lap.

Asia Talent Cup - Thailand - The field through Race 1, Turn 1
Asia Talent Cup – Thailand – The field through Turn 1

Deniz was then able to repeat his Race 1 plan and pull out a marginal gap – just enough to see him stay calm and survive an attack at the final corner, crossing the line to take his stunning second win of the weekend, ahead of Yamanaka. Haraki Noguchi locked out the podium in third as Japanese riders completed the podium.

Double WorldSBK Champion Jonathan Rea again went down to parc ferme to congratulate winner Deniz Oncu, as he did in Race 1 – no stranger to doing the double over a race weekend.

Can Oncu just lost out on the podium to cross the line in fourth, ahead of Yuki Kunii and Indonesian Gerry Salim, who completed the top six. Koji Hirama had an improved second race to take P7, the last in the initial front freight train to cross the line as the IATC provided incredible racing once again.

Asia Talent Cup - Thailand - Reid Battye
Asia Talent Cup – Thailand – Reid Battye

Indonesia duo Irfan Ardiansyah and Lucky Hendriansya took eighth and ninth, as Kritchaporn Kaewsonthi flew the flag for home nation Thailand once again to complete the top ten, slightly further back in Race 2 but with a solid finish.

Erfin Firmansyah, Koki Suzuki, Takuto Suzuki, Australian Reid Terrence Battye and Thai entry Passawit Thitivarak completed the top fifteen. Haziq Hamdan crashed at Turn 3 with 9 laps to go for a DNF, with Maxi Hattori and Azroy Anuar also suffering retirements.

Alberto Puig – Talent Promotion Director

“It was a nice race and we had an interesting battle. It was interesting because it was a race with a quick and close front group and not many crashes. We haven’t got it completely under control but we’ve controlled the important situation with the kids. I think it was a strong race with a lot of overtaking. Evaluating this weekend we can’t say it’s been the best, but it’s gone very well. Deniz has a lot of potential, and it’s rare that the same rider wins the first two races. That shows that Deniz is all-in and he wants to win. That should make the rest of the grid react – we’ll see in Qatar.”

Asia Talent Cup - Thailand - Race 2 Podium - Oncu, Yamanka, Noguchi
Asia Talent Cup – Thailand – Race 2 Podium – Oncu, Yamanka, Noguchi
Asia Talent Cup Race 2, Round 1, Thailand Results


  1. ONCU, Deniz TUR
  2. YAMANAKA, Rysuei JPN
  3. NOGUCHI, Haraki JPN
  4. ONCU, Can TUR
  5. KUNII, Yuki JPN
  6. SALIM, Gerry INA
  7. HIRAMA, Koji JPN
  10. KAEWSONTHI, Kritchaporn THA
  12. SUZUKI, Koki JPN
  13. SUZUKI, Takuto JPN
  14. BATTYE, Reid AUS
  15. THITIVARAK, Passawit THA
  16. SAITO, Kai JPN
  17. TADACHI, Koko PHI
  18. HAKIM, Riefsa INA
  19. ARFIN, Bima INA
  20. SUROJO, Surya INA
Asia Talent Cup Round 1, Thailand, Championship Standings
  1. Deniz Oncu – 50
  2. Rysuei Yamanaka – 36
  3. Haraki Noguchi – 26
  4. Can Oncu – 22
  5. Gerry Salim – 21
  6. Azroy Anuar – 20
  7. Kritchaporn Kawesonthi – 19
  8. Yuki Kunii – 19
  9. Irfan Ardiansyah – 15
  10. Lucky Hendriansya – 12
    …17. Reid Battye – 2