Team KAGAYAMA SUZUKI Asia overcame tough luck on the opening day to score solid points at round four of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) at Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand on Sunday.
After qualifying his GSX-R600 12th on the Supersport grid, team rider Noriyuki Haga was battling for second position in the opening race when he was hit from behind on lap seven and fell. However the Japanese rider remounted to finish a lonely 22nd as team mate Rafid Topan also suffered an unfortunate crash with another rider on the final corner.
Sunday proved more successful with Haga improving his lap-time by 0.2 seconds in the morning warm-up; the fifth fastest time of the session. In the race Haga immediately placed himself in the top group and moved up to third during the first half of the race. He then lost a few positions but it looked like he would score a safe sixth position until the final corner when he was hit from behind again and forced to run off track, eventually re-joining the race to score eighth.
Topan also made strong progress through the field from his 19th-place grid position but suffered a technical issue on the 12th lap and was forced to retire.
Haga added eight points to his championship points haul and moved up to ninth in the series standings while Topan remains 15th.
The fifth round of the Championship takes place on October 1-3rd at Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
Noriyuki Haga - #41:
“The machine during the morning session was the best it’s been all week. I tried to set-up the bike for the afternoon conditions, but the setting wasn't quite right. I did my best to stay up-front in the first half of the race, but my tyres finished in the final half, and that was the race for me. I was hit at the final corner on the final lap, so I was unlucky, but the Suzuki GSX-R600 has definitely progressed and the team's spirit is high. I plan to improve it more for the remaining two races of the season.”
Rafid Topan Sucipto - #25:
“We changed the engine mapping and I was able to confirm that the setting improved in the morning session. I started OK in race two, but just as I was about to push to move up front, I saw white smoke and had to stop the machine. The Suzuki GSX-R600 is now much quicker and I have more confidence now. I wish to find a good setting at Qatar and hope I can show everyone a good race.”
Yukio Kagayama - General Manager:
“Haga was able to race for third in the first half of the race. He started from 12th, so that pushed up the team's spirits. He had to drop his pace during the last half and I apologise to him for that. However, we were able to prove that the Suzuki GSX-R600's potential has improved.
“Topan wasn't able to get on his best this week, but I know he has the ability to do much better. The engine had an issue so we will analyse the cause as soon as possible.
“The machines have progressed from the beginning of the season and we can expect better results at the next round, so I plan to find the best setting for Qatar. I hope I can give our sponsors and our supporters a better result next time.”