The second day of the SUZUKI ASIAN CHALLENGE (SAC) at the infamous Suzuka Circuit saw Thailand’s Punchana Kulrojchalalai take his first Pole Position in sunny but windy conditions aboard his Suzuki GSX-R150 machine. At the same event, SAC General Manager and mentor, Yukio Kagayama, posted a top-10 position in the 600cc Supersport class.
The second practice session took place in the morning and the riders changed their settings to adapt to the strong tailwind in the two long straights at Suzuka. With the young riders now beginning to understand and adapt to the new RCB rear suspension, changes were made and they started to make faster laps in readiness for qualifying. The #78 rider Punchana Kulrojchalalai scraped three seconds off his time from the opening day and led the practice with a lap of 2'53.569.
Qualifying took place in the late afternoon, with the wind becoming weaker than the morning practice and Punchana continued to show strength aboard his GSX-R150, taking his first Pole Position this season with a lap of 2'53.46.: #76 Chepy Armansyah Suryadi (Indonesia) came in second with a lap of 2'54.746, while #32 Arunagiri Prahbu (India) filled the last spot on the front row of the grid with a lap of 2'55.236.
Kagayama, gave the SAC riders motivation by qualifying 10th, and finishing the opening race of the 600 Supersport class in eighth - his first ever 600cc race. This was only his second day racing the Suzuki GSX-R600 and the SAC riders learned a great deal on how a top rider adapts to a new environment, and were all impressed in how Kagayama finished in the top-10 in the highly-competitive Supersport 600 category.
Two races will take place for SAC on the final day while Kagayama will take part in race two Supersport races.
Punchana Kulrojchalalai - #78:
"I have raced at Suzuka before, and I checked the Japanese riders to understand the track better. But it is a difficult track and it took some time to find the braking point at the chicane. The gear ratio was off in my first practice, so I changed the sprocket setting today and adjusted my rear suspension setting, which made my GSX-R150 so much better today. I was able to use the slip-stream effectively, and was able to achieve a good lap. We have two races tomorrow. I am starting on pole, but it would be difficult to run away from the pack, so my strategy is to stay in the pack and wait for the right moment to win the race."
Shunji Yatsushiro - Rider Coach
"I am happy to see that there were no major incidents during qualifying, and that all riders finished the session safely. Since this is the first time for the Suzuki GSX-R150 to race at Suzuka, I was expecting a better lap-time. Although the aero-dynamics of the Suzuki GSX-R150 is better, it maybe that the effect does not show much on a course like Suzuka, where there are not many tight corners, but where there are more middle-to-high speed corners. There are two races tomorrow, and I hope to see everyone do well."