Honda CBR600RR versus Yamaha YZF-R6 – that’s the rhythm of the SuperSports 600cc at the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship scheduled for its first beat this weekend at the Chang International Circuit. Andi Farid Izdihar of ASTRA HONDA Racing Team uplifted the spirit of Honda in its revolution when he hailed champion in Season 2022. Is triumph in the cards for Honda once again?

It was flying colours for Andi in the last race, last season when he took the circuit by a storm with his swift moves and blistering speed that placed him at the top of the chart. Although his greatest rival, Muhammad Helmi Azman of Boon Siew HONDA Racing Team put on a brave fight to seize victory, Andi was indomitable especially after the casualty at Sepang International Circuit.

Andi said, “My success is attributed to the preparedness of our team. Although the outcome is often unpredictable, sometimes with luck but most important is that we give our best shot all the way. The learning process is never ending with motorcycle racing even more so with so many excellent riders striding for the same goal. I learnt so much not only on my own but from the experiences of other riders too. My word of advice to the riders of SS600 would be to always concentrate during the rider. With the big machine in your hands, you can’t afford to lose concentration otherwise, all effort goes to waste.”

Andi has fulfilled his dreams in SS600 race category and now, the Indonesian will pursue the next level of the Asian motorcycle racing championship.

Helmi on the other hand will return to make up for his loss. An otherwise rider of great calibre, Helmi lost his chances to Andi when he was knocked down in the final determining race. Nevertheless, Helmi’s performances last season was a feather in a cap, undeniably, which will go a long way in gearing him up for this season.

Commenting on the race, Helmi said, “I was disappointed at the end of Season 2022 – second overall? That’s not what I aimed for. But that will not dampen my spirits. I am fuelled further for the new season. There is more work to be done for sure but for me, the endgame is to be at the top. That’s motivation enough for me. Last season was an eye-opener for what I am capable of and this season, it is all about working on my strengths to achieve a better outcome.”

It was also a home-ground celebration when Nakarin Atiratphuvapat of HONDA Racing Thailand bagged the third place overall last season. Performing consistently throughout the season, Nakarin strode competitively despite the stiff competition among the riders of an extremely powerful domain. It is evident that Nakarin has an upper-hand at his homeland circuit where he bragged the second spot, twice last season. Teaming up with Nakarin this season would be Pannasorn Kaewsonthi.

Nakarin commented, “There was a great need for deep concentration in controlling the machine with my body and that was a huge challenge for me. It is not as easy as it may have seemed to be. This season however I would have to be quick in managing the issues while on the ground and manage my pace to avoid losing the riding momentum. My favourite part of the machine is its fantastic behaviour at the corners. It is pretty light-weighted but its power is simply fascinating. Once I am in tune with the machine, my goal is nothing less than being the SS600 Asian Champion.”

This season will also see Ahmad Afif Amran, Muhammad Adenanta Putra, Muhammad Andy Fadly, Soichiro Minamimoto, Gerry Salim and Sha Juntong among others taking bold arduous strides in the SuperSports 600cc race category.

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