Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup prepares to kick-off for 2015
The 22 participants in the second edition of the Cup are getting ready to take to the track for the first time this weekend in Thailand.
The stage for the first round of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup is the Chang International Circuit, which will host the first two races of the season as a part of the second round of the WorldSBK Championship.
The track is located in Buriram in the North East of Thailand, a five hour drive from the capital Bangkok, and is 4,554 km long, has 12 corners and can accommodate up to 40,000 spectators.
The first race of the season in the Cup is always a bit of an unknown as a lot of the riders are participating for the first time in an event such as this. Just about the only thing you can be certain of is that the weather will play an important role, with high heat and humidity forecast.
The 22 riders in the Cup had their first chance to acquaint themselves with the Moto3 Honda NSF250R a couple of weeks ago during several days of testing in Sepang.
With this experience under their belts the riders will arrive in Thailand full of enthusiasm hoping that this competition can act as a springboard to a career in the World Championship.
Three riders who will need no extra motivation are the local boys Somkiat Chantra and Nakarin Atiratphuvapat, who are returning to the Cup this season and finished the test in Sepang first and third respectively. They are joined this season by another Thai rider, Sittipon Srimoontree, who is making his debut in the series this year.
The runner-up of the inaugural season of the Cup was Japanese rider Yuta Date, and he will be hoping to continue his nation’s domination of proceedings from last year, having recovered from a leg injury that hampered him in Sepang. His compatriots Sasaki and Kunimine will also be hoping to use their experience from last year to perform well, along with Shafiq Rasol from Malaysia who finished second in the preseason test.
The sole Australian entrant in the Asia Talent Cup is Lachlan Taylor. The Queenslander celebrated his 14th birthday yesterday and a podium in Thailand would be the perfect way to celebrate! Only two competitors in the competition are marginally younger than Taylor, while some of the riders are up to four-years older.
Schedules this weekend are as follows (in local time, GMT + 7)
- Friday 20 March: FP1 12:00 – 12:30 / FP2 14:45 – 15.15
- Saturday 21 March: QP 09:00 – 09:30 / Race 1 13:30 (16 laps)
- Sunday 22 March : Race 2 11:30 (16 laps)
The Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup 2015 consists of 12 races spread over six rounds held in Thailand, Qatar, Malaysia, China and Japan.