With 2017 Asia Production 250cc Champion Gerry Salim off to Europe for the CEV and Tomoyoshi Koyama back in the SuperSports 600cc class of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship, Yamaha Thailand Racing Team’s Anupab Sarmoon is heavily tipped as the best bet for the title in 2018.

During the pre-season tests at the Chang International Circuit, Anupab proved himself equal to expectations with the fastest laptime of 1’53.180. Anupab was 0.342 seconds faster than the existing circuit record he created in Round 6, a time of 1’53.522s. Anupab’s team mate, Peerapong Boonlert, joined him among the top ranks of the 250cc riders. Peerapong posted third fastest.

The Astra Honda Racing Team title will be defended by Rheza Danica Ahrens, Awhin Sanjaya and newcomer Mario Suryo Aji. Rheza checked in with the second fastest with of the day – 1’53.779s.

Most impressive from the first day of practice was the performance by the Astra Honda Racing Team rookie Mario Suryo Aji. At 14, Mario is the youngest rider in the Asia Production 250cc class but have had previous race experience at the Chang International Circuit, having taken part in the Thailand Talent Cup last year. He posted fourth fastest with 1’54.437s on his first day out on the track.

Andy Muhammad Fadly from team Manual Tech KYT Kawasaki Racing will be using the new 2018 Kawasaki Ninja 250 this season. Fadly finished the day seventh fastest with 1’55.211s.