Exciting new talent came to the fore as the season opening round of the 2017 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship came to a close at the Johor Circuit last weekend. A pair of teenagers, 18-year-olds Taiga Hada of Japan and Irfan Ardiansyah from Indonesia, stole the limelight when they dominated Race 2 of the SuperSports 600cc category amidst a field of seasoned campaigners

Despite high expectations that Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi would repeat his Race 1 victory, the polesitter’s race got off to a bad start when he lost the holeshot to Hada. On Lap 2, Zaqhwan’s dream of a double win was smashed when he crashed out at Turn 2. Two laps later, another strong contender, Thailand’s Decha Kraisart also ended his race on the gravel.

While the high profile riders stumbled, Taiga Hada of team RAMA Honda by NTS T.Pro Ten10, put in a stunning masterclass of inch-perfect racing throughout the 16-lap race. He kept his cool and his lead to clinch the first 600cc win of his career with a time of 24’51.787s.

“My rear tyre was a bit slippy throughout the race, but apart from that, I have no other complaints. It was a thoroughly enjoyable race,” said a delighted Hada.

Meanwhile, Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman who suffered from engine woes in Race 1, fared better when he wheelied to the finish line in second place with 24’56.876s. Finally, Indonesian rider Irfan Ardiansyah from Astra Honda Racing stole the spotlight when he rode like a raging bull to go from 12th on the grid to third in the race with a time of 25’04.928s.

Further down the field, Ahmad Yudhistira took fourth place with a time of 25’08.480s. Thai rider Ratthapong Wilairot stormed home in fifth place. Noriyuki Haga, Tatsuya Yamaguchi, Teppei Nagoe, Sena Yamada and Chalermpol Polamai completed the top 10.

Hada now leads the SuperSports 600cc class with 45 points followed by Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, second with 33 points and Zaqhwan third with 25 points.

Thanks to the young rider, team RAMA Honda by NTS T.Pro Ten10 holds the provisional lead in the team awards with 45 points. Team Manual Tech Kawasaki Racing and MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda Racing are tied in second with 33 points apiece.

Round 2 of the 2017 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship will take place at the Chang International Circuit on April 14 and 5, 2017.