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The time has come! Sepang hosts Round 1

16 August 2023

A few days after the pre-season test at the venue, the Malaysian track welcomes the class of 2023 back to go racing 

The time has come for the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup to go racing! The competition kicks off for 2023 at the iconic Sepang International Circuit, with the ATC racing alongside Malaysian Superbike at Round 1. So what can we expect?

2022 runner up Shinya Ezawa will be one to watch throughout the season, not only a serious threat for the crown last season, but also the fastest in testing at Sepang just a few days ago. However, he’s missing Round 1 to race in the Red Bull Rookies, so some key rivals will be looking to capitalise, not least of all Veda Pratama. The Indonesian challenged at the front in 2022 and won races, and he got off to a strong start in the test in 2023, ending the event second overall.

Amon Odaki was also a race winner last year, and although it was a tougher end to the season, it was still plenty more experience for the then-rookie. Coming into 2023 he’ll want to be challenging at the front from the off, and was third in the test as a good omen for that mission. With Ezawa not at Round 1, he’s another favourite.

The likes of Indonesian Reykat Fadilah, Malaysian Farres Putra and Qatari rider Hamad al-Sahouti will also want in on that action, but in testing they lost out on top five honours as two rookies made a big splash: the Japanese duo of Ryota Ogiwara and Zen Mitani. They were P4 and P5, respectively, at the test… so can they keep that roll going as the lights go out?

As ever, there will be two races for the ATC this weekend, putting the first 50 points up for grabs in the fight for the 2023 crown. Make sure to tune in via Malaysian Superbike as the competitions begins, before the rest of the season sees the Cup race alongside MotoGP™ from Motegi on!

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