Buoyed by news that he will be a part of the famed Team Green in the upcoming Suzuka 8-Hour World Endurance Race this coming July, Malaysian SuperSports 600cc rider Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman came out strong in the first day of free practices at Round 3 of the 2017 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship currently underway at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan.

The Kawasaki rider scraped 0.02s off Yuki Takahashi’s 2016 lap record when he posted 2’12.341s to emerge as the fastest SuperSports 600cc rider of the day. The Manual Tech Kawasaki Racing rider was pleased that the day had gone according to script even though he is still trying to shake off the vestiges of a bad cold.

Wildcard rider Ikuhiro Enokido posted second fastest with 2’12.771s followed by Thailand’s Chalermpol Polamai third fastest with 2’12.793s. Another wildcard, Keisuke Maeda piloted his Yamaha to fourth fastest with 2’12.907s. Anthony West clocked fifth fastest with 2’12.955s.

Yamaha Racing’s Yuki Ito was strong in the first practice session but dropped to sixth fastest with 2’12.975s by the end of the day as the pace increased. Defending champion Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi was seventh fastest with 2’13.076s after spending the first day running in a new engine and electing to go for race distance during the rest of the sessions instead of fast time. 

Thailand’s Ratthapong Wilairot clocked eighth fastest with 2’13.367s, Teppei Nagoe was ninth fastest with 2’13.789s. The sole Indonesian rider in the SuperSports 600cc class this round, Ahmad Yudhistira, crashed out in the closing minutes of the third practice session and was tenth fastest with 2’13.803s.

On a more interesting side note, legendary rider Yukio Kagayama completed his first SuperSports 600cc practice sessions 15th fastest with 2’14.250s