Asia Talent Cup 2018 – Motegi Japan

Billy van Eerde seventh and extends his lead

Takuma Matsuyama takes the Race 1 win from Sho Nishimura

Ben Baker 11th just ahead of Senna Agius in 12th

Takuma Matsuyama took an incredible victory in Race 1 at the Twin Ring Motegi, besting compatriot Sho Nishimura by a tenth and a half as home heroes made it a 1-2 for the Japanese crowd.

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Takuma Matsuyama – Motegi Asia Talent Cup 2018

Buriram double winner Danial Sharil completed the podium and that gave him another boost in the Championship fight, moving to within a single point of second overall as Haruki Noguchi failed to score on home turf.

Sharil took the holeshot just as he did in Buriram and the Malaysian was once again a force to be reckoned with in the fight at the front, with a big freight train battle breaking out in the initial stages.

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Motegi Asia Talent Cup 2018

It was every rider for himself in another showstopper before a slightly smaller group were eventually able to break away. Noguchi was in that group and van Eerde was struggling slightly, unable to break into the top five, and the scene seemingly set for the Japanese rider to make a big gain…

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Motegi Asia Talent Cup 2018

It wasn’t to be, however, as a sudden highside for Noguchi put paid to his chances and it swept drama through that front group – with Toshiki Senda also caught up in the incident as he was forced wide and dropped back. That left van Eerde as the one with a big chance to capitalise, but the front group remained out of reach of the Australian.

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Billy van Eerde #19 – Motegi Asia Talent Cup 2018

It was then Matsuyama fighting Nishimura, Sharil, Thai rider Tachakorn Buarsi and Indonesian Lucky Hendriansya and winner Matsuyama pitched it to perfection, just keeping enough breathing space in the final sector and ahead over the line for a first win.

Nishimura was next for a second podium in succession, Sharil took P3, and Buarsi was just left off the rostrum although he took another top finish in fourth. Hendriansya completed the top five, but only six tenths off the win.

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Motegi Asia Talent Cup 2018

Koji Hirama took sixth and was another couple of seconds back, avoiding drama that hit Afridza Munandar after the Indonesian suffered a late fall. Then in seventh came Championship leader Billy van Eerde – with the Australian taking a solid finish and a solid haul of points to extend his advantage to 16 points. It won’t be a shot at the title in Race 2 but it is a big chance to once again extend that lead.

Agung Fachrul, Naoki Yamada and Nitipong Saensawang completed the top ten, with Munandar eventually remounting to take P13 and Senda scoring the final point.

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Benjamin Baker – Motegi Asia Talent Cup 2018

Australian Benjamin Baker took his best points haul of the season in race one, claiming five championship points, while Senna Agius was close behind in 12th and also claimed four points.

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Takuma Matsuyama taking the win – Motegi Asia Talent Cup 2018

Asia Talent Cup Motegi R Classification
Race 1 Results – Motegi Asia Talent Cup 2018

Asia Talent Cup Standings Following Race 1 – Motegi

  1. VAN EERDE Billy AUS 153
  2. NOGUCHI Haruki JPN 137
  3. SHARIL Danial MAL 127
  4. NISHIMURA Sho JPN 111
  5. AJI Mario INA 96
  6. BUARSI Tachakorn THA 68
  8. MUNANDAR Afridza INA 59
  9. FACHRUL Agung INA 55
  10. SAE-LIW Kopchai THA 54
  11. MATSUYAMA Takuma JPN 53
  12. SENDA Toshiki JPN 46
  13. PUTRA Adenanta INA 43
  14. PAWI Ibrahim MAL 34
  16. HIRAMA Koji JPN 30
  17. AGIUS Senna AUS 24
  18. YAMADA Naoki JPN 24
  19. KIUCHI Shota JPN 15
  20. SAENGSAWANG Nitipong THA
  21. ALBERTO Troy PHL 13
  22. BAKER Benjamin AUS 8