After a long summer break, the second half of the season is about to get underway in Japan
The opening two rounds of the 2022 Idemitsu Asian Talent Cup got competition underway in style, with three winners in the four races that took place in Qatar and Lombok alongside MotoGP™. Now the Cup gets back in action at the Mobility Resort Motegi for the first time since 2019, and there’s plenty on the line for the home heroes and rest of the grid alike.
Three Japanese riders locked out the first podium of the year, and they’ll want to do the same on home turf. Veteran Gun Mie will want to open his win count, whereas fast newcomers Shinya Ezawa and Amon Odaki want to add to theirs after impressive starts to their ATC careers. With some home knowledge, the stage is set for the three to hit back against the points leader.
That points leader, as it stands, is Malaysian Hakim Danish. He did the double in Lombok to leapfrog to the top and is a solitary point ahead of Ezawa ahead of Round 3. That could change quickly, but Danish is race ready as he arrives back from competing in Europe. The same is true of Qatari Hamad Al-Sahouti, who is equal on points with Odaki after taking his first podium in Lombok. He’s made his JuniorGP™ debut and plenty more since Round 2 of the ATC, and it will be interesting to see how the order shuffles once the Cup is back on track.
Indonesian Reykat Fadillah is another who’s already been on the podium and will want to return to it, whereas more veteran Rei Wakamatsu hasn’t, and he’s on home turf. Another more experienced rider who’ll want much more as the action gets back underway is Carter Thompson, too. The Australian has shown his speed and will want to iron out the bad luck as Motegi welcomes us back to Japan.
There are two races for the ATC this weekend, with both guaranteed to stage a spectacular. Race 1 gets underway at 16:30 (GMT +9) on Saturday, before a quick turnaround for lights out on Sunday at 9:00.