The Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup will be back in action soon, and the stunning Sepang International Circuit awaits
After two exciting Rounds to begin the season as the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup took on Losail International Circuit alongside MotoGP™ and then Chang International Circuit in Buriram alongside WorldSBK, it’s now time for the engines to fire up for our first visit to Sepang International Circuit. A modern classic just outside Malaysian metropolis Kuala Lumpur, SIC is challenging, long and physically demanding – quite a track to take on for the class of 2018, although the field all know the track from testing.
We’ve had four races so far in 2018, and three different winners: Cup favourite Haruki Noguchi, Indonesian newcomer Mario Aji and first ever Australian winner Bill van Eerde. They’ll be looking to make sure it remains three winners for the season, and Noguchi will be hoping that experience gives him the upper hand. He’s on 90 points and 25 clear of van Eerde, with Aji’s DNF in Buriram Race 2 a costly one that puts the Indonesian on 53 points overall. That’s quite a gap but “Super Mario” has had quite some pace and it’s another 50 points on the table at Sepang.
The power of a home race could play into the favour of leading Malaysian in the standings Danial Sharil, however. Close to the podium in Thailand and with the added incentive and knowledge that comes from racing at home, the youngster will be racing with little to lose. Could he mix it up at the front? Will Indonesian Afridza Munandar take a step forward? Can 2018 podium finishers Toshiki Senda and Sho Nishimura make it more than one Japanese name on the rostrum?
Time will tell and the punishing 5.5km of Sepang will decide another incredible weekend of racing for the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup. This time it’s alongside the Malaysian Superbike Championship, with 16 laps of Race 1 at 12:30 local time (GMT +8) on Saturday, before Race 2 at 13:00 on Sunday.