Lusail International Circuit in Doha hosts Round 1, with two races and 50 points on the table
After a two-day test at Lusail International Circuit, it’s time for the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup to get suited and booted to go racing. Round 1 takes place alongside MotoGP™ this weekend, with two races putting the first 50 points on the table for the class of 2022.
It was rookie Amon Odaki who was fastest in testing, and the Japanese debutant will be looking to pick up where he left off once action begins again. It was incredibly close, however, with three riders within 0.027. The other two? Also rookies, with the veterans facing an early fight for dominance on the timesheets. Second fastest was Shinya Ezawa, another Japanese rookie, who was just 0.012 off Odaki’s 2:11.313, and third went to Mandalika wildcard Veda Ega Pratama, with the Indonesian joining the grid full time in 2022. The only rider who went quicker that the top trio in the first race of the 2021 season was Taiyo Furusato, the eventual Champion.
Veterans Carter Thompson and Gun Mie, meanwhile, completed the top five in testing, and they will both be looking to reassert their speed as Free Practice begins for Round 1. Mie was on the podium twice in four races last year at Lusail, and Thomspon was only just denied too, ending the round with two fourths. That will give them both some confidence as the lights go out to battle for the points this season, as racing is often a different game to testing.
Thai rider Jakkreephat Phuettisan was another impressive rookie in the test who’ll be looking to make a mark on race day, but returners Hakim Danish, Rei Wakamatsu and Thanakorn Lakharn will have a point to prove against the debutants. Qatari rider Hamad al-Sahouti, meanwhile, was in the top ten in testing and as he wildcards this weekend, will want the same as a minimum.
The time has come and the race is on, with 50 points up for grabs at Lusail. Who will take an early lead in the 2022 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup? Find out this weekend, with Race 1 on Saturday at 14:35 (GMT +3) and Race 2 set for Sunday at 11:50 – both live on the ATC channel on YouTube.