The victory battle went down to the wire as the Indonesian pips Ogiwara to P1 as Odaki crashes at the final corner – Ezawa picks up P3
For a record-breaking eighth time in 2023, Veda Pratama claimed victory in the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup after a phenomenal Race 1 played out at the Lusail International Circuit. Japan’s Ryota Ogiwara finished just 0.094s away from the win in P2 as his compatriot Amon Odaki crashed out at the final corner to hand third place to Shinya Ezawa in Qatar.
Pratama started from pole position and the #7 got the launch he would have been dreaming of. Almost immediately, the front quartet started to pull clear but a mistake at the final corner cost Ezawa time. This allowed Pratama, Ogiwara and Odaki to stride clear as the victory fight became all about three riders.
As we often see in the ATC, the lead was changing lap by lap. Pratama, Ogiwara and Odaki all took several turns leading in what was a fascinating race before the final lap reared its head. As the trio approached Turn 16, Odaki slung his Honda up the inside of both Pratama – who was wide on the outside – and Ogiwara.
Drama then unfolded for Odaki who crashed out when the rear tyre let go on corner exit, allowing Pratama to power past Ogiwara to claim victory under the lights. Ezawa was a lonely P3, the Japanese rider ended the race 5.7s adrift and just under four seconds ahead of the scrap behind.
Despite starting P17, Marianos Nikolis picked up his best result of the season in P4 as the Australian beat Riichi Takahira and Zen Mitani over the line, with Jakkreephat Phuettisan – who now sits P2 in the standings – and Farish Hafiy finishing P7 and P8 in that particular battle. Kiattisak Singhapong and wildcard rider Mohammed Binladin rounded out the top 10.
11 races down, one to go. The 2023 curtain closer takes place at 14:35 local time (GMT+3) on Sunday afternoon – can anyone stop Pratama from claiming a ninth win?