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Rajiv aims for top-10 finish in Asia racing
Close on the heels of an admirable top-10 finish in Zhuhai (China) which put the team firmly in the top-8 of 20, ‘IDEMITSU Honda Racing India’- the only Indian team in Asia Production 250 class of FIM Asia Road Racing Championship 2019 (ARRC) - arrived at the Sepang International Circuit of Malaysia brimming with confidence.
Battling it out with Asia’s best riders in the penultimate 6th round are Rajiv Sethu and his rookie teammate Senthil Kumar. Buoyed by his fourth straight double victory in Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship and his second top-10 finish in Zhuhai, Rajiv returns to Sepang to better his best ever top-10 finish in Asia’s toughest road racing championship.
The 21-year-old Chennai rider can take heart from his track-record here. It was here that Rajiv scored his first-ever top-10 finish in the ARRC. Since then, he has won points for India in 9 out of 10 races with a commendable two top-10 and seven top-15 finishes. This puts him firmly in the top-15 of 36 riders with 32 points – an appreciable jump over his 27th rank last season. Not only Rajiv, Sepang is a special track for rookie rider Senthil too.
After all, it was in his debut ARRC race here that he notched up his first top-14 finish and earned two points for the Indian team. Currently tied in top-25 riders, Sepang is the golden chance for Senthil to finish in top-15 and improve his championship ranking. Looking forward to Round 6 of ARRC, Rajiv said, “2019 was the first time for me in Sepang. Scoring a top-10 finish in my debut race here and my latest 10th place finish in the last round in Zhuhai has increased my confidence. Finally, I am now competing with the front bunch. But then, even one mistake will prove to be costly. Sepang is a great opportunity and bettering my position in top-10 is my priority.”
For his part, Senthil said, “Barring Thailand, Sepang circuit is the only track where I have now ridden earlier. In my debut here, I finished at 14th.Having raced in five rounds of the championship, I am now comfortable on CBR250RR and adapting much faster. I will give my 100% to earn points for India once again.”
Sepang is also a make or break round for Zaqhwan Zaidi of Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA team in Asia SuperBike 1000cc (ASB) class of ARRC. Powered by a team including a technician from Honda 2Wheelers India too, Zaghwan’s dream of title will come true only if he uses his home turf advantage to fullest and recovers his 35 points lag.