Team KAGAYAMA SUZUKI Asia had a tough debut at round one of the Asia Road Race Championship at the Johor Circuit in Malaysia at the weekend, but remains focussed on improvement for the next round.
With unexpected issues in qualifying and in the opening race, the team restructured its strategy with GSX-R600 riders Noriyuki Haga and Patis Chooprathet for the second race on Sunday, but a lack of pre-season testing contributed to a lower than expected result.
Haga, who started from the back of the grid due to a crash on the first lap of the qualifying session, made his way up the field and led the third group by the end of the race, finishing in 13th. Chooprathet, in his first Supersports 600 race for the team, struggled to find speed, but completed his first race in the top-level category of motorcycle racing in Asia.
Although the race weekend was a difficult one, the team managed to score five points and plan to build on this at the second round of the ARRC at Chang International Circuit in Thailand on May 6-8th.
Patis Chooprathet - #98:
“I wasn’t able to find the best set-up today and could not find the speed I wanted. But I was able to finish the race and see the other riders; however, I need to learn a lot more. The next race is at Buriram, which is in my home country, so I will do my best there.”
Noriyuki Haga - #41:
“I changed my setting from Race 1 and improved my lap time, but the others also improved theirs, so it did not lead to a good result. We have places where we need to change, so we will need to analyse and re-structure our strategy for the next round.”
Yukio Kagayama - Team Manager:
“I would like to thank our sponsors, especially Suzuki and Dunlop, that we were able to finish the season opener. Haga had a mishap in qualifying, but his experience gave us precious points in the Championship, and I will do my best to provide him with a competitive machine for the next round. Patis is still young, and needs a lot of experience, but he finished Race 2, and that was another learning experience for him. His potential is there and I would like to support and encourage him.”