The Japanese rider makes it a clean sweep for the season, but the Malaysian pushes him all the way
Taiyo Furusato has officially made it a clean sweep in the 2021 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup, the Japanese rider rounding out the season in style with another win. It was another duel against Danial Sharil, however, with the Malaysian incredibly close over the line but not quite able to take to the top step. After a huge group battle for the rostrum just behind the two, it was once again Gun Mie coming out on top for third - but the number 5 had his work cut out on Sunday.
Danial Sharil got the holeshot from second on the grid, with Furusato slotting into second and a small gap opening up for the Malaysian in the lead. That only got bigger as the number 21 got the hammer down, with Furusato leading the chase.
Carter Thompson and Tetsuya Fujita were early crashers, and that left the group a little smaller but with Furusato at the front of it as Danial Sharil continued his breakaway. Bit by bit, the gaps got bigger in the freight train though, and soon enough it was that familiar duel at the front.
It stayed that way as Furusato was able to tag onto the back of the number 21 machine in the lead, and this time the fireworks started a little earlier as the two traded positions. Over the line to start the last lap it was Furusato back into the lead though, and at Turn 1 Danial Sharil held off and held station, planning a different attack on take three...
The plan was forced to change, however, as the Malaysian headed well wide at Turn 10, and it looked like it could be over then and there. But he dug deep for the rest of the lap to get back on terms with Furusato, and coming out of the final corner on the drag to the line it was incredibly close. Not quite close enough though, and once more he was forced to settle for second as Furusato took the flag for a magnificent seventh win.
As they duelled at the front, the smaller groups behind had become one big fight for third, and it was Mie who came out on top, seeing off an early attack from Masaya Hongo and then able to make a little breathing space over the line. Home hero Herjun Firdaus made some moves on the last lap to take fourth too, with less than a tenth in hand over Hongo. Fadillah Aditama was within a tenth too, and it stayed close in the freight train as Herlian Dandi, Reykat Fadillah and Veda Pratama took seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively.
Rei Wakamatsu completed the top ten, getting the better of Sharul Sharil in that duel.
That's it for 2021 and another spectacular season of competition in the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup. Thank you for joining us and to all of our partners for racing with us, and best of luck to those who, like Furusato, head on to pastures new next season. The rest... we'll see you in 2022!