Monday, October 13


With just two races remaining, Japanese teenager Yatu Date leads the inaugural Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup by just two points from fellow Japanese rider Kaito Toba.
WITH two races remaining in the inaugural Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup, just ten points separates the top three riders following an exciting Japanese round at Motegi on October 12.

The seventh race of the season was a struggle of titanic proportions: hard braking, creative lines and some tough passes kept the top riders bunched together to duke it out for the podium places.

In Qualifying, Yuta Date showed his pace, by posting a lap time of 2m 02.486s, a full second faster than countryman Kaito Toba.  That gave Date pole position, as despite his best efforts to respond,Toba could only close the gap marginally. (For comparison, the pole position time for the world championship MotoGP race at Motegi was 1m 56.555s, recorded by Danny Kent on a works Red Bull Husqvarna, 6.9 seconds faster than the youngsters on spec. Honda 250s).

Shafiq Rasol of Malaysia completed the front row of the grid ahead of Thai rider Nakarin Atiratphuvapat, the pole sitter from the previous round in Malaysia.

As the session drew to a close and the riders pushed for those final few tenths there was one last incident as Azhar Noor, the lone Singapore rider, sent his bike cartwheeling through the gravel, breaking the frame in two.

In Sunday's race there was drama from turn one as Fakrusy Rostam crashed on entry and narrowly avoided scuttling the pack of riders, although he did force Ryo Mizuno wide and into the gravel and in his haste to recover lost ground the Japanese rider would fall one lap later.

At the front it was an eight rider battle for the podium but it was almost always headed by championship rivals Yuta Date and Kaito Toba.  They swapped positions all race long with Takuma Kunimine joining in on occasion to spoil the party.

There was another crash for Thai rider Muklada Sarapuech as she high-sided her Honda into the gravel, thankfully she is ok and will be back to race again soon.

With one lap to go it was Date who held a slim advantage but coming into the sharp 90 degree corner at the end of the lap, Toba was hard on the brakes and having a look.  One corner later at the final turn he made his move but he overcooked it and sent both himself and Date wide on the exit.

Ayumu Sasaki takes the chequered flag after an action-packed Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup race at Motegi on October 12.
That compromised their run to the line and left a gap open.  It was winner of the last race in Malaysia, Ayumu Sasaki, who made the most of it, coming though the fray to win by a bike length from Shafiq Rasol who also made his way through a gap to take his second podium of the season.  Takuma Kunimine took third for his second visit to the top three while Toba and Date were left in fifth and seventh respectively.
Ayumu Sasaki took his second win of the season
with a well-judged finish at Motegi.

That means that with just two races to go, Date leads by just two points in the championship from Toba with Sasaki only eight points further back.  

It’s all to play for as the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup moves onto Malaysia and Sepang for the final round of the season, where the riders will step up their quest to turn their potential into performance.