CHANGHUA, TAIWAN, 19 NOVEMBER 2017 – Taiwan, a country known for its heavenly food, nature and two-wheel motorsport hosted its inaugural FIM Asia SuperMoto Championship at the K1 Circuit, Changhua, Taiwan. The beautiful morning started with a strong feel of rivalry between the top 3 contenders, Lewis Cornish, Khairi Zakaria and Trakarn Thangthong, with the trio continuously switching positions at the Qualifying and SuperChrono session.
With Muhd Habibullah temporarily out of the race due to a motocross injury that punctured his lungs, Khairi may be pursuing a lone journey to the Asian Class victory should he overcome the 2015 champion, Thailand’s Trakarn Thangthong.
United Kingdom’s Lewis Cornish was a cut above the rest in Qualifying and SuperChrono as he sits on pole for the third consecutive time at the 2017 FIM Asia SuperMoto third round in Changhua, Taiwan.
The Englishman needed just under eight minutes and a mere five laps to clock 1:07.116s to move into the SuperChrono phase together with Malaysia’s Khairi Zakaria, Trakarn Thangthong of Thailand, Japan’s Naoto Takayama and Takashi Sasaki and Singapore’s Hasroy Osman.
Khairi, the sole Malaysian rider after Muhd Habibullah’s season ending injury, made good account of himself with the second best time of 1:08.116s.
The locals who were hoping to have one of their own challenge for a podium finish fell by the way side. Out of the four locals, Lee Wei, racing for Supermoto Taiwan, clocked 1:13.446 to finish .710 seconds of sixth-place finisher Hasroy.
Lin Chin Pei (1:14.303) finished a close eight while Lin Chu-Yin and Cheng Pang Pang did not finish qualifying.
It was a similar tale to qualifying with none able to match the quality of Lewis Cornish. This time he shut his bike down with 14 minutes left of the 20-minute SuperChrono round and returned to track in the last five minutes hoping to best his time of 1:06.255s.
He did not, thus cruising home for lunch before making an assault on another race victory later in the afternoon.
It came down to a battle for front row positions. Malaysia’s Khairi Zakaria who races for 23 Motor Racing Team, and K45 Maxima Supermoto Racing’s Trakarn Thangthong were in a mighty battle to take second place.
The Thai rider seemed to have found an edge as he sped to a 1:06.946s lap time. Khairi came into the paddock for some tune up before re-emerging on track with less than two minutes left. The 29-year-old was barely hanging on to his bike on the dirt track as he made a dash to improve his time.
Managing to squeeze in two laps, his final lap 1:07.682s was his best.
Making up the second row are Naoto Takayama of KYT Autorace Global Riders (1:08.052), AWANO Racing’s Hasroy Osman (1:13.003) and Takashi Sasaki of KYT Autorace Global Riders (1:59.870).
Moto 1 Race Report
Thai superstar Trakarn Thangthong took the lead after lap two and never looked back as he won Moto 1 of the FIM Asia SuperMoto Championship season albeit in dramatic fashion.
Overall leader Lewis Cornish was on pole again and within seconds of the race start, bolted to a six bike lead and seemed uncatchable on the straights.
On the second lap he attempted a triple jump on the dirt section and went hard and fast into the hairpin turn. Unable to control the bike as he attempted the turn to the right, he crashed and upon resuming was back in the pecking order.
Credit to Trakarn who stayed close to the Englishman. He kept his composure and crossed the finishing line comfortably.
“Lewis tried the triple and crashed so lucky for me,” said Trakarn.
Trakarn was attempting the double and triple jump in the qualifying races which is a risky move. However the confident Thai was unperturbed.
“I did the triple in qualifying but not too many times. In the race I followed Lewis’ lead. When he tried a triple I tried a triple. Then every lap after when I tried the triple it worked.
“I am really happy I won as it’s an improvement from qualifying. I will have to do my best in Moto 2 as Lewis will be out to redeem himself. If I win, great. If not, it’s OK as I’ve given it a 100%.”
Lewis showed why he is a class above the rest as he fought back from the crash and pretty soon was hot on the wheels of Malaysia’s Khairi Zakaria in second place. The 25-year-old whittled down a nine-second deficit to one second at the penultimate lap.
“I was doing the same route as Trakarn. He was doing double-triple jumps and that particular one caught me out,” said Lewis.
“When I got back up I was behind Takayama and ended up tagging him as I tried to pass. I put in some solid laps one after the other and tried to catch Khairi.
“By the time I caught up to him he was taking defensive lines, not letting me through. But it is what it is. Hopefully for the next one I can get the win.
“I want a good start and not make any of the mistakes,” he added.
Meanwhile Khairi said he was struggling in the race due to a tough fight from Trakarn and Lewis. He was cautious throughout the race not attempting any double-triple jump combinations after seeing Lewis crash.
He wasn’t afraid of Lewis catching up and getting so close to him but was worried the Englishman would pass him.
“At the time I was wary of him passing me so I kept my lines tight and tried to create some distance between me and him,” said the 29-year-old.
“I didn’t attempt any double and triple jumps so in the next race I must do it.
“As you heard Lewis saying earlier he tried that combo and fell. However the rewards for doing it is more speed and momentum. I think the next race I will have to follow the leaders close by and attempt this difficult jump sequence.”
Moto 2 Race Report
Trakarn Thangthong created history becoming the first champion of the inaugural FIM Asia Supermoto Championship – Taiwan. However the Moto 2 race was title was stolen by Lewis Cornish after a fight to redeem his mistakes at Moto 1.
Lewis crossed the finish line doing a wheelie as he took the win.
It was the closest race of the season as almost all the bike this weekend were on a similar level hence the most skillful one would come out victorious.
Starting in third place on grid, Lewis got the best start when within the second corner he found himself in second place after a great jump start to leapfrog Malaysia’s Khairi Zakaria.
He was hot on the heels of Moto 1 winner Trakarn Thangthong and was within a second or less behind the Thai rider.
Trakarn proved strong on the track while Lewis was faster on the dirt. The two played a cat and mouse game as whenever Lewis had a chance to overtake, Trakarn would block.
Both riders were going strong with their jumps, not holding back on the double-triple-single dirt road berms much to the delight of the sold out crowd.
By the half way point, Trakarn pressured heavily by Lewis — they were neck and neck for most of the race — was still able to keep his lead. Until the eight lap.
Trakarn ran a little wide on the exit of turn number three and Lewis was quick to capitalize on it, sprinting past the surprised Thai. The Englishman immediately put distance between him and Trakarn as he sped towards the finish line with a total time of 23:19.176 seconds.
“Got off to a decent start and made the most of a little bit of carnage and managed to past Khairi,” said Lewis.
“From then on stuck close to Trakarn and waited for a mistake from him but it was obvious he wasn’t going to make one. I had to make something happen. I opened a little bit of a gap and made the move on him then and once I passed I put a gap between us.”
Trakarn can be forgiven for losing his focus for a split second. In high level races it’s all one needs to gain an edge over you. However the Thai rider is still upbeat.
On Saturday he had some trouble with his bikes clutch and brakes. He got help from Husqvarna Taiwan and had a bike worthy of racing. His second place finish meant he wins the Asian class category.
“I was a little bit nervous during the race because I was in the lead,” said the 24-year-old.
“After 10 minutes Lewis passed me as he was pushing all the way and I was worried about that particular corner. Eventually he did pass me there.
“In the end I may not have even raced but thanks to Husqvarna I have a very good bike now,” added Trakarn.
Khairi on the other hand did not make many changes to his bike and most of the bikes today were on similar levels.
Khairi had to change a few settings as the bike he uses in Malaysia is a 2016 model while the one in Taiwan is 2017’s model.
“I knew Lewis was going to fight for first position and somehow he got past me early,” said Khairi.
“From then on it was a struggle but I never let up I still wanted to chase Trakarn for the second place when he and Lewis swapped top position.
“I’m satisfied with the standard I put out as at least a Malaysian is challenging for places,” exclaimed Khairi who races for 23 Motor Racing Team.
“In more time we can produce better riders and show we can challenge the best out there. In fact if Muhd Habibullah (Gabit) was here he would give Lewis a stronger challenge. That guy can do crazy things,” he chuckled.
The 2017 FIM Asia SuperMoto Championship will continue with its penultimate round at Singapore on 10 December 2017, and the grand finale at Bukit Jalil, Malaysia, on 16 and 17 December 2017.
|Pos||No.||National||Name||Best Lap Time|
Moto 1 Result:
|Pos||No.||National||Name||Laps||Best Time||Total Time|
|9||720||TWN||LIN CHIN PEI||17||1:13.643||22:57.900|
|11||102||HKG||TSANG WAI KEI||16||1:18.137||23:13.274|
Moto 2 Result:
|Pos||No.||National||Name||Laps||Best Time||Total Time|
|8||720||TWN||LIN CHIN PEI||18||1:14.370||23:52.744|
|11||102||HKG||TSANG WAI KEI||17||1:17.350||23:38.492|
2017 FIM Asia SuperMoto Championship – Taiwan Standing Points
Open International Class
|Name||Moto 1||Moto 2||Total Points|
|LIN CHIN PEI||12||13||25|
|TSANG WAI KEI||10||10||20|
|Name||Moto 1||Moto 2||Total Points|
|LIN CHIN PEI||13||14||27|
|TSANG WAI KEI||11||11||22|