Two rounds without a win and currently fourth in the SuperSports 600cc title chase, defending champion Yuki Takahashi is plotting a comeback at the Suzuka Circuit this weekend, host to Round 3 of the 2016 FIM Asia Road Racing Championship.

During the first day of free practices for the SuperSports 600cc class, Takahashi was clearly the man to beat as he topped the timesheets for each practice session and ended the day by breaking his own lap record to set a new 2’12.793s record on the 5.807km circuit.

The top five saw a mix of riders from different nationalities producing good results at the tricky circuit. Thailand’s Ratthapong Wilairot clocked second fastest with 2’12.904s followed by Indonesia’s Ahmad Yudhistira third fastest with 2’13.019s. Young 600cc rookie Taiga Hada was fourth fastest with 2’13.276s followed by current championship leader Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman posting the fifth fastest time of 2’13.386s.

The MUSASHi Boon Siew Honda rider had always relied on his home venue to turn his title hopes around. Takahashi currently trails Azlan by 19 points and will need maximum input from the Suzuka leg to boost his title defense campaign.