Signs of an Astra Honda Racing Team comeback in the AP250 class is in the offing, when Lucky Hendriansya and Irfan Ardiansyah locked out the top two positions after a first day of practices at the Zhuhai International Circuit.

Unlike the past two years, the Indonesian based Astra Honda Racing Team has been uncharacteristically low-key in the first half of the 2019 season. The change of location from South Korea to China as the host of Round 5 seems to have brought a new lease of life to their title campaign.

Lucky was the only rider to check in below 1’54, setting a high benchmark for the AP250 class with 1’53.758s. Irfan Ardiansyah was second on the combined timesheets at 1’54 flat.

The Hondas look to have an edge that is ideal to the stop-and-go style of racing demanded by the 4.3km Zhuhai International Circuit. Of the top five riders, four are Hondas. Rafid Topan Sucipto logged third fastest with 1’54.016s followed by Awhin Sanjaya in fourth with 1’54.274s.

Anggi Setiawan from Yamaha Racing Indonesia was the quickest Yamaha on the grid, fifth fastest with 1’54.465s.

Championship leader Andy Muhammad Fadly’s Kawasaki will be finding the stop-and-go nature of the Zhuhai track to be a challenge. The Manual Tech KYT Kawasaki Racing rider ended the day eighth fastest with 1’54.598s.

India’s best results came from Sethu Rajiv who was about 3 seconds off the fastest rider. Former ADC rider, Zhou Sheng Jun Jie will have a lot of ground to make up as he clocked 21st fastest with 1’57.062s.