The field ready for Round 2 alongside MotoGP™ at Losail International Circuit
It’s sure to be another exciting weekend for the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup at Losail International Circuit in Qatar this weekend, as the grid share the billing with the first race of the 2017 FIM MotoGP™ World Championship. After an impressive debut weekend with some fantastic racing and competition in the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup, the desert venue – outside Doha – now awaits.
Deniz Oncu did the double in Buriram as the young Turk came out fighting, and this next race weekend gives him a chance to take a formidable early lead – but the chasing pack know it’s their chance to hit back.
Podium finishes in Thailand behind Oncu were Malaysian Azroy Anuar and Japanese rider Ryusei Yamanaka in Race 1, with Race 2 another success for Yamanaka – this time joined on the rostrum by compatriot Haruki Noguchi. There were a number of strong performances from other riders in the hotly contested races – and Azroy in particular will be out to prove his form after a podium in Race 1 in Thailand followed by a DNF on Sunday. Indonesian Gerry Salim should be a tough rival in Qatar, taking a win and a podium last year.
A stunning venue under the sun or the floodlights, Losail is a ribbon of 5.4km with 6 lefthanders and 10 right – another fantastic challenge for the class of 2017.
Alberto Puig, Talent Promotion Director: "The circuit is very different to Buriram. Not just the layout, which has a lot of different corners, but also for the location in the desert and the climate. It can be very changeable, the wind can get some corners dirty and it makes the right choice of gear ratios difficult. The wind can be a tailwind or a headwind. The changing, dirty track also affects the grip and it can give you a surprise. Luckily we race in the daytime and the humidity that appears at night won't affect us. The track is long and it's good to know how to take advantage of the pauses. My basic advice to all the riders is just to do laps - the more laps they do, the more they will understand the track."
Previous editions: Salim took the win in Race 1 in 2016, which was also his first victory in the Cup and is sure to make Losail a place of good memories for the Indonesian. Andi Izdihar took the second victory of the weekend the following day – but Salim was on the podium once again in what seems like a good omen ahead of this year.
Looking further back, 2015 had more tight finishes and a win for Takuma Kunimine in Race 1 and a first ever win for Izdihar in Race 2 - which was also the first for Indonesia. 2014 saw Yuta Date take the victory from pole in what was the first ever race in the Asia Talent Cup.
The schedule for the weekend is as follows (in local time, GMT+3):