The penultimate leg of the 2019 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship will be a crucial round for Malaysian rider Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi. Trailing Broc Parkes by 35 points, Zaqhwan will need strong results from his home round to keep his ASB1000 title hopes alive.

In terms of performance, the Honda Asia Dream Racing with SHOWA rider had been able to match his Australian rival’s pace in almost every round. Both riders had consistently finished within the top-five in the previous 10 races.

An attack by the mechanical gremlins in the season opener set Zaqhwan’s campaign off on the back foot. He’s been fighting to make up for lost points since.

“I’m feeling extremely confident going back to Sepang for the penultimate round. Our team engineers have made a lot of progress with our machine’s performance since that first race. Coupled with our constant training at the All Japan, I am optimistic that I will be able to convert homeground advantage into podium finishes,” said Zaqhwan who had scored two wins in the 2019 season so far.

As long as Zaqhwan picks up 40 points from Sepang, the race to become the first Asian ASB1000 champion cannot end in Sepang. However, if Broc bags the maximum 50 points from the upcoming race, the chances of Zaqhwan adding a third Asian title to his resume will dwindle at the final round.

“Like everyone else, my target is to claim the double win in Sepang. If I can achieve that target, we will be able to take the ASB1000 title to the final round in Buriram. Unlike many of the other riders on the ASB1000 grid, I cannot count on a team mate for race strategies to guard my flanks. As the sole rider in my team, I just need to go hard and go fast.”