Four riders, one final corner; the fight for victory went down to the wire as Pratama and Mie pick up Race 1 podiums in Thailand
Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup Race 1 from the OR Thailand Grand Prix didn’t disappoint as the victory battle went right to the wire. Emerging with the 25-point haul was Hakim Danish as the Malaysian claimed his third win of the season to retake the Cup standings lead, with Veda Ega Pratama and Gun Mie rounding out a podium split by just 0.2s at the chequered flag.
Shinya Ezawa was the overall standings leader heading into Race 1 on Saturday afternoon, but the Japanese rider needed a good start from P8 on the grid – and that’s exactly what he didn’t get. Last weekend’s race winner had to take avoiding action at Turn 3 on the opening lap after Amon Odaki crashed out unhurt from the lead group. This left Ezawa with a mountain to climb from P15.
A lead group of four quickly emerged with Pratama, polesitter Carter Thompson, Mie and Danish showing great pace to pull clear of the chasing pack. Ezawa quickly progressed from P15 up to P5, but by the time he was at the spearhead of the second group, his hopes of a podium were over.
And, as expected, the fight for victory came down to the wire. Four riders battled it out for the race lead but it was Pratama looking strong at the front on the final lap. Expecting the move to come at Turn 12, Danish then pulled a blinder to dive up the inside at Turn 10 as we witnessed three riders all go side-by-side into the final corner. Danish timed the cutback to perfection to claim the win by just 0.046s over Pratama, as Mie held off Thompson for the final spot on the podium.
Marianos Nikolis passed Ezawa at the final corner to pick up P5 and demote the latter to P6, as Farres Putra, Jakkreephat Phuettisa, Reykat Fadillah and Thanakorn Lakharn rounded out the top 10 ahead of Race 2 on Sunday morning. It’s an 09:00 local time kick off the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup field in Buriram, with 11 points now separating Danish and Ezawa in the title chase!