A top three split by just 0.027 kicks off the 2022 season, with the debutants denying the veterans at Lusail
The 2022 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup is now officially underway, with a successful two-day pre-season test at Lusail International Circuit setting the scene for another great year of competition. By the end of play in Doha, it's rookies on top too – with the top three all making their full-time debuts in 2022 and split by just 0.027 on the timesheets.
The rider on top was Amon Odaki, with the Japanese rider putting in a 2:11.313 to beat compatriot Shinya Ezawa to the top by just 0.012. For reference, only eventual Champion Taiyo Furusato put in a faster lap in Race 1 of the 2021 season at Lusail – a race he went on to win with a margin. Third place in the test was close too, with Mandalika wildcard and new full-time rider Veda Pratama, from Indonesia, just 0.027 off Odaki.
Australian Carter Thompson, the first veteran on the combined timesheets, was just under half a second off the top, with fellow returning rider Gun Mie of Japan just another tenth in arrears. Then came another rookie 0.075 further back: Thai rider Jakkreephat Phuettisan. Returners Hakim Danish and Rei Wakamatsu were next up, ahead of a good test for Qatari wildcard Hamad al-Sahouti in P9. The local rider will also race in the season opening round at Lusail next weekend.
Thanakorn Lakharn completed the top ten, with the gaps remaining small and the three riders behind still within a tenth of the Thai rider.
It was two days of solid track time for the field, with eight 20-minute sessions on Day 1 and another six on Day 2 allowing them to get into the groove. That's in addition to time set aside to run through the start procedure, with the grid now ready and raring to line up and race.
Round 1 of 2022 takes place alongside the Grand Prix of Qatar, with Race 1 on Saturday at 14:35 (GMT +3) and Race 2 set for Sunday at 11:50. Make sure to tune in!