Who will be the first to conquer Suzuka for the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup ?
The next and third round of the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup sees the grid ready to take on the legendary venue of Suzuka – one of the most fabled and famous motorsport venues in the world. Lining up as part of the Asia Road Racing Championship on June 2nd – 4th, the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup heads to the venue this year in place of Zhuhai International Circuit in China. Last year at this stage of the season, China saw Ai Ogura and Yuki Kunii come out on top – and 2017 sees the weekend instead take place on home turf.
The Japanese riders also may have a small advantage, with many having competed at the track at national level – but that could play into the hands of their rivals, who will have a big point to prove in the charge to take the Cup this season.
Crucially, the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup reaches the halfway point for 2017 after Race 2 at Suzuka, and the grid will be keeping one eye on the points as well as on the win. Race 1 is on Saturday June 3rd, before Sunday marks 50% of the season with Race 2.
The standings as Suzuka dawns:
Deniz Öncü leads the Championship with 61 points heading into round three after a double in Thailand and a fight back in Qatar, but the Turkish rider has big competition only five points behind: home hero Ryusei Yamanaka of Japan. Two more Japanese riders, Yuki Kunii on 44 points and Haruki Noguchi on 42, are the next men in the standings, very much close enough to prove real threats.
Alberto Puig, Talent Promotion Director: "Suzuka is very special track, very nice, you have to be careful and you have to concentrate. There are a lot of high speed corners a lot of banking in many corners and elevation changes. You have to try to be very smooth to be fast because if you stop the bike too much, you can't make a lap time.
More advice is that it's not an easy one, you need many laps in Suzuka to be fast, that’s why the Japanese riders are so fast, when the European riders used to come here. We need a good understanding, and the line is also very important because you know it's not a very wide track… so you have to know very, very well where you'll put the front wheel to make the correct line and also with this banking after the corners you can accelerate fast but you know you must know where to start to do all these. So a difficult track, but very nice for a rider and very nice when you ride fast. My first advice to new riders is not to crash in Suzuka because it's a high speed track. It's important that they get the most track time possible in practice sessions - and also if you see a Japanese rider, try to follow him because he will show you the correct line!"
Hiroshi Aoyama,Asia Talent Scout: "This track, to be honest, is very well known for Japanese riders and less for the others. This race track has two long straights, also two chicanes, and between we have a lot of kinds of corners, and very fast ones. It is more than two minutes so it's quite long and quite fast. You can use many lines, but there is only one or two lines that you can use to get good speed or a good lap time. So to find out this line you need to do many laps to understand where the braking point is. Especially in the beginning of the race track the “S “ corner, you have to find good speed and a good line. In the hairpin you have to find a good exit, and Suzuka is many kind of corners together. It's difficult to find the line but on the other hand it's nice to ride. You have a lot of fun, excitement, so for young riders like the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup riders for sure it will be tough but they can also have a lot of fun - so they need to find a good way as soon as possible so we can see a nice battle between the riders."