The return of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship to the Zhuhai international Circuit may present a twist in the tale in the AP250 title chase. With the possible exception of wildcard Zhou Sheng Jun Jie, most of the existing riders in the class have yet to learn the intricacies of the 4.3km race track located in the southern tip of China.

As it stands, Andy Muhammad Fadly is defying the odds of the equalizer rule. The Manual Tech KYT Kawasaki Racing rider has been able to maintain a strong presence at the top of the championship table. With 23 points margin under his belt, Fadly will be relying heavily on personal coach Katsuaki Fujiwara’s expertise to eke out a headstart in Round 5. Fujiwara, the rider-turned-team director, was one of the last ARRC riders to have won races at the Zhuhai International Circuit.

Fadly will be wary of the potential challenge posed by his Indonesian compatriots – Irfan Ardiansyah and Awhin Sanjaya. In the previous round at the Suzuka Circuit, the two Astra Honda Racing Team riders have managed to overcome a slow start to their title campaign. Solid podium finishes from Suzuka has the two team mates tied in second overall with 104 points each.

After a disappointing outing at the Suzuka 4 Hours two weeks ago, the Astra Honda Racing Team riders can be expected to go all out for the top step of the podium. Of the five riders in the top-five, only Irfan and Awhin are not yet hampered by the 500rpm cut.

Fadly’s first line of defence, ironically, could come in the form of Thailand’s Muklada Sarapuech. Fired up from her recent record-breaking stint when she became the first female rider to win the Suzuka 4 Hours, Muklada will be looking to get past the two Astra Honda Racing Team riders to get her title chase back on track.