After debuting the track last season, the ATC returns to Mandalika for Round 2 of 2022
There were two classic races for the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup in Qatar, and now it’s a quick turnaround into Round 2 as the stunning Pertamina Mandalika Circuit plays host. 17 corners of unchartered territory await for many, with the majority of the grid not having raced at the track last season. But a few did, and it should be another interesting shuffle.
Back in November it was three races, and all were won by Taiyo Furusato on his way to the crown. So we’ll have a new winner, but there could be one familiar face on the podium as Gun Mie took three third places. After a pretty strong start to the season in Qatar, the Japanese veteran will take confidence in that. Carter Thompson took a fourth and a fifth last year too, and he’ll want to get on the podium as a minimum – especially after some bad luck in Qatar put paid to his rostrum hopes there. Hakim Danish, meanwhile, hasn’t scored at Mandalika after a tougher end to 2021, so he’ll be gunning to tame the venue fast.
One rider who’s a full-time rookie but does have some experience at the track after a wildcard last year is Veda Ega Pratama. The Indonesian took two solid finishes and will want even more now he takes on his full season, so can he get right in the fight at the front? He did in Qatar, taking a well-fought podium in Race 2. So did Hamad al-Sahouti, who now joins the fold as a full time rider, and there’s another wildcard for Indonesia too: Zachry Akbar. Where will he join the shuffle for glory amongst his compatriots?
Their fellow rookies – those who haven’t taken on Mandalika before – will be keen to stand in their way. After a stunning opening round for Shinya Ezawa and Amon Odaki, who took a win apiece, the gauntlet has been thrown down by the fast newcomers and they surely still arrive as favourites. Can they keep the roll going at a new venue – and one where they’ve not done a test?
Find out and tune in for another epic this weekend as the ATC take on Pertamina Mandalika Circuit, with Race 1 set for 16:25 (GMT +8) on Saturday before lights out for Race 2 at 9:00 on Sunday.