Markus Reiterberger stole the show as he swept to the top of the ASB1000 championship after winning Race 2 in Round 3 of the Idemitsu FIM Asia Road Racing Championship at the Sugo International Race Course in Japan today.
The 29-year old German’s stellar performance also put Malaysia’s OneXOX TKKR Racing team top of the ASB1000 team standings, despite a troubled round for veteran rider Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, who crashed out after 10 laps in Race 1 yesterday before finishing 11th in Race 2.
Starting the weekend on the backfoot without any knowledge of the track, this being his debut race in Sugo, Reiterberger used his experience to study and strategise the weekend, which saw him finish second behind Yamaha Gen Blu Racing Team Asean’s Kasma Daniel Kasmayudin in Race 1, before being locked in battle with then championship leader Haruki Noguchi of the SDG MS Marc-Pro Honda Ph team at the start of Race 2 before cruising to victory after the Japanese rider crashed out on the ninth lap of the 18-lap race.
“My feeling is really good. The weekend was really awesome, to be honest,” said Reiterberger.
“I arrived here without knowing the track, so I watched videos and in the first two or three laps I followed Azlan Shah (Kamaruzaman). I tried to learn the track and I really liked it. In the qualifying it was not so good, but in the race it was good. In Race 1 it was wet and I never really raced on wet tyres here in Japan, but I tried a good as I can and in the end I finished second, which was very good as well for the championship,” he said.
Some overnight tweaks by the OneXOX TKKR Team to the BMW M1000RR saw Reiterberger with a more complete package at the start of Race 2.
“Today, the team made some changes to my bike because I was missing some turns, as in the beginning it was good and after a few laps it dropped. So we did some tests in the warm-up, with some changes to the front tyre and the suspension. They gave me the best package possible, also with the electronics,” said Reiterberger.
“I had a good start and I knew I had to push hard to stay at the back of Haruki Noguchi ( who was in the lead). It was like this for a few laps, but then unfortunately he crashed, I am sorry for him, but this is racing. I think anyway, we would have won the race. This is again very good for the championship, but we have to keep calm and take it till the end of the season,” he added.
“I want to say thank you to the team and everyone who watched the race. The next round is in Mandalika (Indonesia) and it will be the same preparations as here because again I have never raced there. But we want to keep the same pace if not better. We already have a good understanding with the team and we need to keep it that way,” said Reiterberger.
In the Supersports 600cc class, Japanese ace Keito Abe had a similarly fruitful outing, winning Race 1 yesterday, before finishing second in Race 2 behind Boon Siew Honda Racing’s Khairul Idham Pawi.
“In race 1 yesterday, I had a good feeling and won the race. But this made me nervous at the start of the race today. I tried to do my own race, but in the end, KIP (Khairul Idham Pawi) had an edge and he won,” said Abe.
“But this week overall it was good, I got two podium finishes and we have a lot of data to help the team improve. I am happy with the result, especially racing in my hometown.”
Abe’s strong weekend, along with a sixth-place finish in Race 2 by compatriot Sho Nishimura, who was making his debut with the OneXOX TKKR Racing Team, meant he moved into second in the Supersports 600cc riders’ standings on 91 points, which was 27 points behind leader Khairul Idham, while the team remained fifth in the team standings.
In the Underbone 150cc class, a troubled weekend saw the team’s riders Hafiza Rofa, Shafiq Rasol and Ahmad Fazli Sham finish seventh, 11th and 24th respectively in Race 1, while Race 2 saw all three not finishing.
The Idemitsu FIM Asia Road Racing Championship continues with Round 4 at the picturesque Pertamina Mandalika International Circuit in Indonesia on August 11-13.