Takuma Matsuyama made it a home race weekend to doubly delight in on Saturday, winning the second race in style once again – but this time in a photo finish. Heading title challenger Haruki Noguchi by just 0.003 seconds, Matsuyama’s last roll of the dice saw everything go down to the wire.
The fight for third, meanwhile, was also a photo finish – and it was by just four thousandths that Billy van Eerde completed the podium, while also retaining his championship lead of 12 points.
It was Buriram double winner Danial Sharil who got the fourth holeshot in a row in Race 2, slotting into the lead early and a similar big battle to Race 1 keeping the fight close at the front. But this time many would become a few less as they dueled and scrapped, with four riders able to then break away to fight for the podium in the last couple of laps. Drama hit well before that point, however, with Toshiki Senda one man to crash out – and Sharil sadly suffering the same fate as he was just clipped by van Eerde.
Another big incident also ripped through the top ten battle, with a crash for Afridza Munandar collecting Nitipong Saengsawan, Mario Aji and Sho Nishimura. Thankfully all riders are ok, and Nishimura at least was able to stay in the race and came home P11 for a handful of points.
So back at the front it was Matsuyama, Noguchi, van Eerde and another home hero in the form of Koji Hirama who fought it out for the podium by the final laps – and they finished in that order. Matusyama judged the drag to the line to perfection, and van Eerde did the same after Hirama had earlier picked his pocket on the final lap. Almost nothing in it, it was another showstopper of an Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup race.
Tachakorn Buarsi completed the top five after just fading off the front four, with Adenanta Putra taking sixth as he just beat Naoki Yamada to the line. A little further back came Agung Fachrul, with Troy Alberto of the Philippines and Senna Agius from Australia completing the top ten.
That’s it from the penultimate round and the standings have taken yet another shake up. Sharil’s DNF leaves him with a long but mathematical chance at the Cup in Sepang, but the fight is now largely a two-man affair: van Eerde leads Noguchi by 12 points and the season finale puts another 50 in play.
Tune in for the final round from Sepang in two weeks as another stunning season comes to a close – will we have a Japanese Champion? Or the first ever Cup winner from Australia?
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