Turkish rider takes a dominant win as the standings shuffle ahead of the finale
Can Öncü did the double on the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup’s first visit to Sepang International Circuit in 2017, and the Turkish youngster is half way to repeating that feat after taking a dominant victory in the first race of the weekend. Indonesian Gerry Salim took a spectacular second, with Japanese rider Yuki Kunii completing the podium after another pacy performance.
It was Deniz Öncü who took the holeshot off the line, and the young Turkish rider led initially until brother Can Öncü began to make a move towards the front. Once there, the Can Öncü was able to pull away – then crossing the line an incredible 6.534 clear. Behind him, it was a seven rider battle to complete the podium – with some spectacular racing between Salim, Kunii, Deniz Öncü, Azroy Anuar, Haruki Noguchi, Ryusei Yamanaka and Genki Nakajima.
In the end, Salim was able to make it count on the final lap, followed home by Kunii. Anuar took fourth riding at home for some good points, with Noguchi taking fifth. Yamanaka was sixth at the flag, just ahead of Deniz Öncü, who lost out on an incredibly close drag to the line. Nakajima took eighth, with compatriot Koji Hirama in ninth and Kritchaporn Kaewsonthi of Thailand completing the top ten.
Incredibly, there remain six contenders for the crown ahead of the final race. Deniz Öncü retains an advantage at the top of the table, but the Turkish rider is now only eight points clear of Haruki Noguchi in second. Only two further back is Ryusei Yamanaka, on 133 points, ahead of Yuki Kunii and Azroy Anuar, who both sit on 126. Can Öncü remains the outside contender but retains a mathematical chance; 21 points down with 25 on the table for a win in the second race of the weekend, and final race of the 2017 Cup.
Alberto Puig, Talent Promotion Director: “Point one is that the race was nice and it was impressive because there were no crashes. The group was quite big and they managed to have a good race. The championship is open and I think tomorrow we’ll see a final attack, so we expect some good action. It was very hot, that’s why the laptimes weren’t so good, but we’re happy and pleased - and expecting a good battle tomorrow.”
There’s more action from Sepang on Sunday with Race 2. As always all of the action can be followed on YouTube channel