FIM ARRC Friday Qualifying Report from The Bend

Rheza Danica leads AP250 front row lockout for Astra Honda

There was a clear shift in the balance of power between Indonesia and Thailand in Asia Production 250cc Qualifying this afternoon at The Bend Motorsport Park, as Rheza Danica Ahrens led an Indonesian 1-2-3 to lock out the front row for Race 1 on Saturday.

Rheza put in an early killer lap of 2:08.039, and sat atop the timing sheets as the rest of the pack fought it out for the remaining places at the front.

Astra Honda’s ‘Super’ Mario Surio Aji was the best of the rest, grabbing second place more than half a second behind and with a margin of 0.212 to Ahwin Sanjaya, who completes the front row.

Asia Production 250cc - TBG Image
Asia Production 250cc – TBG Image

Behind the red white Honda front row is a blue and white Yamaha second row, led by Indonesia’s Rafid Topan Sucipto from Yamaha Thailand’s Anuparb Sarmoon and Faerozi on Yamaha Indonesia.

Anuparb began to get among the leaders in the middle of the session, but, in the end could only get within a second of Rheza. The next best Honda rider was Muklada Sarapuech, who qualified ninth with a best lap of 2:09602 after a crash late in the session at the final turn spoiled her chances of getting onto the front row. She is behind two more Indonesians, Andy Fadly and Anggi Setiawan.

Andy Fadly - TBG Image
Andy Fadly – TBG Image

The fourth row is all Thai, with AP Honda’s Kritchaporn Kaewsonthi and Yamaha Thailand’s Peerapong Boonlert and Kanatat Jaiman.

Cao Viet Nam - TBG Image
Cao Viet Nam – TBG Image

Of the other fancied riders, Yamaha Indonesia’s Richard Taroreh qualified 13th, to complete the list of riders capable of making up the leading group when racing starts.

Lone Australian wildcard, Zac Levy, who qualified 24th, commented, “We are quite disappointed with where we qualified, as we can’t even match the pace of the Aussie bike at the moment. We are finding the motor isn’t up to the scratch of the Factory Yamaha and Honda bikes, which is making it hard as we can’t match the times we are getting in the 300 class. We will keep plugging away and see what we can come up with.”

Zac Levy - TBG Image
Zac Levy – TBG Image

Underbone 150 – Helmi upstages Wahyu in Superpole

As the Asia Road Racing Championship’s Underbone pack got to grips with the curves, cambers and undulations of The Bend Motorsport Park during morning Qualifying, Wahyu Aji Trilaksana asserted his authority by recording a fastest time of 2:18.954, a full 1.2 seconds quicker than Izzat Zaidi. The impressive wildcard, Travis Hall, was third fastest.

ARRC Underbone might look at first glance as a bit of a joke but I assure you this is deadly serious business and total cut-throat madness of epic proportions.
ARRC Underbone might look at first glance as a bit of a joke but I assure you this is deadly serious business and total cut-throat madness of epic proportions.

Wahyu Aji, the 2016 champion, is seeking redemption at The Bend after being hit with 21-points worth of penalties during Round One in Thailand last month.

The top 15 Underbone riders in the ARRC go through to Superpole. This determines final grid positions according to times achieved on a single lap without the benefit of slipstreaming, the riders set off at 20-second intervals in three groups of five.

SCK Rapido Hi Rev Honda’s Helmi Azman qualified sixth, so went out at the back of the middle group. The 19-year-old Malaysian hit a close to perfect lap of 2:18.857, good enough to win Superpole and secure pole position.

Helmi Azman
Helmi Azman

Wahyu Aji was four-tenths slower on his single lap, which was good enough for second, in front of UMA Racing’s Haziq Fairues.

Filipino wildcard, McKinley Kyle Paz was fourth quickest, ahead of RCB Yamaha YY Pang’s Izzat Zaidi and Ammirul Ariff for Yuzy Honda Vietnam.

13-year-old Travis Hall will start from the third row, showing that he is more than capable of running with Asia’s fastest Underbone riders, therefore guaranteeing himself a wild weekend in Tailem Bend.

Travis Hall
Travis Hall

Locky Taylor, after struggling with an uncompetitive machine, brought a disappointing Underbone adventure to a close. He will be focusing his attention on the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike presented by Motul Pirelli (ASBK) Australian Supersport 300 class.

Ito stays ahead to take Supersport 600 pole

Team Yamaha Racing Asean’s Yuki Ito consolidated his reputation as a fast learner of new circuits by taking pole position at The Bend Motorsport Park this afternoon. The Japanese rider logged a best lap of 1:56.591 halfway through the 40-minute session.

Yuki Ito - TBG Image
Yuki Ito – TBG Image

The time looked unassailable until Britain’s Joe Francis went out on the WeBike IKAZUCHI Yamaha on fresh tyres after 30-minutes and flew round the 4.9km circuit within a tenth of Ito.

Idemitsu Honda’s Taiga Hada got within a tenth of Anthony West’s understudy with two-minutes remaining and will complete the Supersport front row.

Joe Francis
Joe Francis

Hong Leong Yamaha’s Kasma Daniel Kasmayudin showed his potential with a lap of 1:56.736 to qualify fourth ahead of former GP125 star Tomoyoshi Koyama. The Japanese rider lapped consistently in the 1:57s, edging a hard charging Decha Kraisart to the outside of the second row by three-hundredths of a second.

Keminth Kubo - TBG Image
Keminth Kubo – TBG Image

Defending champion, Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman was in and out of the pits throughout the session, managing a best time of 1:57.509, which means he will start from the middle of the fourth row. The Malaysian needs 13-points to catch the absent Anthony West at the top of the title ladder, but has left himself plenty of work to do over the weekend.

Broc Pearson was the best of the wildcards, qualifying 16th, nine-tenths faster than Tom Toparis who will start next to him on the sixth row. Scott Nicholson, on the sole Suzuki, will start from 22nd place.

Broc Pearson

“It was a difficult qualifying session today after how well we went yesterday. The team is having a big weekend trying to do both classes on one bike and it is becoming a bit of a struggle. The setup we had going into qualifying wasn’t what we were after, but we will make some changes overnight, but I am confident we can run in the 58s or 57s, which will see us inside that top 10 if all goes well.”

Broc Pearson
Broc Pearson

Tom Toparis

“We went out to try and fix our front chatter. It doesn’t matter what we have tried so far, we just haven’t found a way yet. As a team we have tried three different bikes but no luck. Today has been one of the hardest days we have had, but we will keep pushing and see what we can come up with before tomorrow.”

Tom Toparis - TBG Image
Tom Toparis – TBG Image

Scott Nicholson

“Unfortunately we struggled to find a better setup with the tyres in qualifying. Of course it was tough but we’re fighting hard and I ended up getting my fastest lap of the weekend. Decently happy with that but I would have liked to have been much further up the grid.”

Scott Nicholson - TBG Image
Scott Nicholson – TBG Image