Japanese rider takes a commanding win as Nishimura crashes, Putra gets a ride through and final corner drama explodes in Race 1
Takuma Matsuyama took a commanding win in Race 1 of the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup at Buriram, pulling clear of the chasing pack - and the drama - to cross the line over three seconds clear for his first win of the season. Herjun Firdaus and Syarifuddin Azman completed the rostrum for their first podiums too, with final corner drama taking three riders out the podium fight...
The front row got fairly equal starts to blast down to Turn 1 in unison, but drama just off the front grabbed everyone's attention as points leader Sho Nishimura lost it and skittled out, taking a couple of riders with him. And there would be plenty more drama later, but Matsuyama was already far clear of it and from there on out, the Japanese rider only stretched his advantage.
The fight for second raged throughout the race, however. Firdaus, Azman, Tatchakorn Buasri, polesitter Afridza Munandar, Shoki Igarashi, Adenanta Putra and Idil Bin Mahadi all batlled it out, with the first to drop from the group proving Putra as he was given a ride through for a jump start. And then there were six...
As the laps ticked down, it seemed Buasri and Munandar had the form but it wasn't to be. As Matsuyama crossed the line in the clear, the fight for second approached the final corner and it was the number 5 leading the number 4, but Igarashi then tried to force his way through - and lost the front. He took both down with him, and that left Firdaus and Azman coming through to complete the podium. Igarashi has been given a back of the grid start for Race 2.
The man who crossed the line fourth, Bin Mahadi, also gets a penalty - a time penalty the equivalent to a ride through - and is classified eighth, bumping home hero Piyawat Patoomyos up to P4, just ahead of compatriot wildcard Buapa Thurakij. Jacob Roulstone and Ryosuke Bando were next up ahead of Bin Mahadi, with Putra fighting back to ninth and Warit Thongnoppakun to tenth after he suffered contact.
Kadir Erbay took 11th ahead of Nishimura, with Rei Wakamatsu having fought back to ahead of the points leader but then demoted a place for overtaking under yellows at the final corner.
Another penalty from Race 1 sees Harrison Voight start from pitlane for causing a collision with Thongnoppakun.
Tune in for Race 2 at 15:30 (GMT +7) on Sunday, with Matsuyama now only 11 points down on Nishimura. Can the number 3 bounce back or will there be even more drama in store?