Local riders were the pace setters on the first day of the ARRC Official Tyre Tests as eight riders set about laying down some rubber in preparation for the 2019 launch of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship ASB1000 class (Superbike).
Anupab Sarmoon holds the Superstock 1000 lap record at the 4.5km Chang International Circuit – a time of 1’35.3 – which was also the target time set by Dunlop for the first day of tests.
The weather had been ideal for the test and most of the riders, especially those from teams with existing race data at the Chang International Circuit, had been able to get up to pace quickly. It came as no surprise that the Thai riders were the quickest on the first day.
Anupab, astride the Yamaha Thailand Racing Team’s R1, was consistently the fastest rider for most of the day but Thitipong Warokorn knocked Anupab out of top spot with a 1m36.167 in the final practice session. Still, it was an impressive performance from Anupab and Yamaha, who were adapting to Dunlop rubber from Pirelli.
Thitipong’s Kawasaki team-mate, Chaiwichit Nisakul, was third quickest on 1’36.460s. It was really no surprise that the Kawasaki pairing featured so highly, they have been racing Dunlop shod Kawasaki machinery for two seasons, with Thitipong the Thai Champion in both those years.
Young Indonesian rider Andi Farid Izdihar, filling in for an injured Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi, gave good account for himself. With a bike that is fresh out of the box, Andi had to complete the hard work of running in the engine before he could put in any laptimes. Regardless, Andi was able to get the Honda Asia Dream Racing bike home in fourth fastest with 1’36.703s.
Seasoned Malaysian campaigner Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman clocked in for his first day of work with his new team, Onexox TKKR Racing. Now racing on a BMW, Azlan was the fifth quickest rider of the day with 1’37.060s.
Newly crowned SuperSports 600cc rider Ratthapong Wilairot was sixth fastest (1’37.498s), ahead of Australia’s Glenn Allerton on the NextGen Motorsports BMW.
The Victorian based Superbike team ended the day in seventh place on the overall combined times with a 1min37.543, which Allerton posted in the second of the four sessions. The three-time Aussie Superbike Champion completed 68-laps of the 4.554km Buriram circuit.
“I feel as if we should have been able to do 36’s today but it’s hard to do fast lap times simply because of the hot conditions.”
The opening day primarily centred around testing of the Dunlop control tyres while Allerton and the team were frustrated by a few small braking issues, which they hope to iron out ahead tomorrow’s final day of testing.
“The heavy braking areas took their toll and caused us some dramas today. The team and I will sit down tonight and work on our braking package, and also on acceleration out of the slower corners.”
Overall, the 37-year-old New South Welshman was happy with how his day went, which marked his first ever time riding around the Chang International Circuit.
“It’s a very wide and open flowing track, it was good to be able to get our bearings on which way the track went and of course get our heads around the Dunlop tyres. These Dunlops are a different spec’ to what we use back in Australia, so it was always going to be a learning day. With a day under our belt, we can now start working on bike set-up tomorrow and hopefully push for faster lap times.”
Next Gen Motorsports Team Manager Wayne Hepburn explained that today has been a positive day for both Allerton and the team.
“As a whole, I’m happy and the team are also very happy. Our testing program today saw us testing a bunch Dunlop tyres, which we got through. We had five different rears and three different front tyres we had to go through. At the completion of tyres, Glenn seemed to like the softer compound tyres, so we then focused on them and trying to make the tyres last a bit longer.”
With tyre testing done and dusted for the day, Hepburn also explained that tomorrow will see Allerton and the team trying to adapt the BMW S 1000RR to the conditions, now that Allerton knows which tyres works for him best.
“As we just focused on tyres today, we now have to work on the bike set-up for tomorrow. We have a lot of work to do to be competitive with the local riders. It’s great to see that the field is so competitive and the local riders are keeping us honest. We are now looking forward to tomorrow, where we know we will improve a lot. Overall however, I’m very happy with how Glenn rode and of course how the team worked today. It’s a huge credit to them and I can’t wait to see how we will go tomorrow.”
Access Plus Ducati Philippines’ TJ Alberto rounded out the day’s practice on 1’37.749s as the eighth and final rider in the ASB1000 field.
The final day of testing gets underway tomorrow at 0940 GMT +7. In total, there will be three one-hour sessions, before finishing with a forty-minute session in the later part of the afternoon.
ASB 1000 Test Day One Times
Thitipong Warokorn Kawasaki Thailand 1:36.167
Anupad Sarmoon Yamaha Thailand 1:36.391
Chaiwichit Nisakul Kawasaki Thailand 1:36.460
Andi Farid Izdihar Honda Asia Dream Racing 1:36.703
Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman ONEXO X TKKR 1:37.060
Ratthapong Wilairot Yamaha Thailand 1’37.498
Glenn Allerton NextGen BMW S 1000RR 1:37.543
TJ Alberto Access Plus Ducati Philippines 1’37.749
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.