The riders of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup meet in Japan to contest two critical races.
With races completed in Thailand, Qatar, Malaysia and China, the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup now heads to Japan for the fifth event of the year. The Japanese round will be held at the Motegi circuit, alongside the MotoGP™ Motul Grand Prix of Japan.
With 100 points still in play (two races in Motegi and the final two races in Sepang), the Japanese races will not decide who wins the close fought Cup, but will show who the favourites are before arriving in Malaysia.
For now, Ayumu Sasaki holds the advantage, not just due to his position as leader of the overall standings with 136 points, but also because he has proven to be one of the strongest riders on the grid. Of the eight races he has finished on the podium six times with two wins, Thailand’s Atiratphuvapat has also won twice, but taken other no podiums. The pair have also been joined on the podium by the likes of Japanese duo Kunimine and Ogura, Indonesia’s Izdihar and Chantra from Thailand, who had a strong start to the year before breaking his leg whilst training.
Kunimine sits in second overall with 107 points, 29 behind Sasaki, while Masaki currently holds third with 92 points. Just three behind is Atiratphuvapat who is fourth with 89 points.
With a high number of local Japanese riders participating in the Cup, Alberto Puig, the director of the Cup, is eager to see how they fair as he believes the home crowd and track knowledge will raise their overall level in the championship. Besides Sasaki, Kunimine, Masaki, Date, Ogura, Fuse and Yamanaka, 15-year old Yato Fukushima will also participate in the race. China’s Shengjunjie Zhou, who impressed many in Zhuhai, is set to wildcard again alongside Malaysian Idham Khairuddin to fill the grid with 21 riders.
Riders of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup will have two practice sessions on Friday, while Saturday will hold the sessions to determine grid positions for the two races. The first race is scheduled for Saturday at 16:15 Local Time (GMT+9) and the second on Sunday at 15:45 (GMT +9).