2016 Asia Production 250cc Champion notwithstanding, Yamaha Thailand Racing’s Apiwat Wongthananon has entered the final leg of the 2016 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship with guns blazing. Not one for resting on his laurels, Apiwat looks set to extend his winning margin when he posted the fastest lap time during the first day of free practice.

At 01’53.920s, Apiwat’s best lap has placed him a hefty 1.674 seconds faster than the rest of the grid. Indonesia’s Galang Hendra Pratama, who finished the day as the second fastest rider of the intermediate class, posted only 01’55.594s. 2015 champion Takehiro Yamamoto crossed the finish line as the third fastest rider with 01’55.968s.

However, the 22-year-old Apiwat has admitted that he is still in search of more speed.

“We decided to use a new engine for the second practice. Getting the set up right was a bit of a challenge but it looks like we may have found the right combination for the track condition at this time of the year. I am very satisfied with our progress today and I’m looking forward to squeezing out an even faster time during the qualifying session,” said Apiwat.

Behind the top three riders, AP Honda’s Sitthisak Onchawiang posted fourth fastest with 01’55.976s while Yamamoto’s team mate, Ayumu Tanaka, rounded up the top five with 01’56.059s.