Rookie fights off Noguchi in another incredible photo finish
The Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup has its first ever Australian winner after Race 2 in Qatar, with Bill van Eerde coming back from a big crash on Friday to duel it out against title favourite Haruki Noguchi on Sunday. Another incredible photo finish – with the riders not even sure who had taken the win – made for a stunning second contest of the weekend. Toshiki Senda of Japan completed the podium, going one better than his Saturday P4.
After the desert duel on Saturday, Sunday was more a group war for glory at the front, although Noguchi and Saturday podium finisher Mario Aji again initially took off at the front. But enter Bill van Eerde, as the Australian got into the fight and wouldn’t allow a breakaway.
Race 2 was classic Asia Talent Cup racing with riders dicing and attacking, and everything going down to the wire – with the last lap seeing van Eerde and Noguchi able to make a small gap and convert it into a duel. Into the final corner, the Australian was ahead – but Noguchi got alongside on the home straight before the number 19 just nudged back ahead before the line.
Senda completed the podium, ahead of another top finish for Race 1 second place finisher Mario Aji of Indonesia. Afridza Munandar took P5, with Senna Agius of Australia putting in an impressive second contest of the weekend as he managed to fight off Race 1 rostrum finisher Sho Nishimura. Polesitter Agung Fachrul had a less dramatic start to proceedings on Sunday and got away from the pole position he earned in qualifying to take P8, with Thai rider Tachakorn Buarsi and Malaysian Danial Sharil completing the top ten.
“The race was very interesting,” says Cup Director Alberto Puig. “I think a little more interesting than yesterday because there were more riders in the top group. It was nice to see an Australian winning an Asia Talent Cup race for first time race. I think it was a nice race. Noguchi is probably the most experienced rider but I’m happy because from yesterday to today they improved the laptimes and there were more guys in the top group. We are pleased, and now we move to Thailand for the next race at Buriram. As always all of the action can be followed on YouTube channel.
It’s not long until the next race now, with Buriram playing host as the second round of the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup rides alongside WorldSBK in Thailand next weekend.
Track Conditions Race 2
Air Temperature: 27ºC Track temperature: 36ºC Humidity: 34% Wind: South Conditions: Dry