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Odaki escapes for maiden win as the fight for the podium goes to the wire

6 Mar 2022

Race 2 saw the number 14 convert pole into victory, with second and third decided by thousandths

Sunday saw another stunning fight to the wire for the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup, but this time it was for second place as Amon Odaki was able to break clear in the latter stages and take his maiden ATC win. Behind the number 14, it was a sprint to the line as a group slipstreamed to the flag, with wildcard and local hero Hamad al-Sahouti taking second ahead of Veda Ega Pratama of Indonesia in third.

Off the line, Odaki got a better start than Race 1 but didn't quite keep the holeshot, with Malaysian Hakim Danish scything through to lead. As ever, it remained a group battle at the front though, with nine riders able to break away and fight it out.

As the laps ticked down, Carter Thompson, seemingly feeling the effects of the incident that saw him taken down on Saturday, started to fade slightly, and at the front it was Odaki vs Pratama and, lap by lap, al-Sahouti on the move. The Qatari rider put in a few fastest laps over the line, and the scene was set for a showdown to the wire.

That we got, but it didn't include Odaki. The Japanese rookie was leading when Pratama, tucked in behind, suffered a huge moment - and pulled off an incredible save. The Indonesian stayed on but was shuffled back in the group, and in the wake of the incident a gap opened up between Odaki and the chasing pack.

The number 14 needed no extra invitation and kept the pedal to the metal to take his first ATC win in style, crossing the line with some breathing space. Behind him, it was a slipstream showdown won by al-Sahouti as the wildcard took second and his first podium. Pratama, despite having dropped back after his moment, completed the podium.

Gun Mie was denied a trip to the podium by hundredths as he took P4, with Danish completing the top five. Another tenth back, Race 1 winner Ezawa took P6, with Thompson getting back in the mix to take seventh. Jakkreephat Phuettisan was mere hundredths off the Australian and takes P8 in Race 2.

Rei Wakamatsu, after some more solid pace in the latter stages of the race, was given a Long Lap for track limits that he didn't have time to take, so the number 2 was given a time penalty and was classified ninth.

The top ten was completed by Marianos Nikolis as the Australian headed a close group of five riders battling for P10.

That's a wrap on Round 1! Two great races at Lusail have started the season, and now the ATC heads to Indonesia to take on Mandalika. Tune in for more in just under two weeks, when the racing will once again be live on the ATC channel on YouTube.