TVS ASIA, RAISING THE BARS

Marking its third year in the Idemitsu FIM Asia Road Racing Championship, the notable TVS Asia One Make Championship will once again adorn the paddock with the livery of blue, white and red alongside its noteworthy players for another season of competence and competition.

Standing tall in the art of mastery within the race category was Hiroki Ono of Japan who made his entry from round three onwards. The Japanese lad got himself the DNF status in Race 2 but that was all the defeat needed before he went with blazing guns to conquer the race category in the remaining rounds. He ended the season on the second spot after scoring a flat 25-point in seven races. With such a strong positioning last season, Hiroki certainly is a threat to the many well-established riders however it is a game yet to unveil.

Commenting on the season, Hiroki said, “This year will be my first full-season participation and of course, whatever said and done, the goal remains the same which is to win the championship for this season. Part of my preparation, apart from the usual training and routine is to get a hair-cut before race week. I think the races would be highly competitive but I don’t know the riders yet. All I know is that TVS has many great riders every season. I definitely hope to gain more experience this season alongside bagging the most points. So far, I have excelled well in the race category and I have to maintain that kind of achievements. I like Chang circuit and there is of course the technical part of it in the second half section which makes it quite an interesting circuit. The great part about racing in the one-make series is that it is done on an equal ground which I think is important and necessary in the improvement of riders’ skills.”

Despite the scorching heat from his countrymen, Malaysian rider, Md Muzakkir survived the burn and emerged champion in his debut season after finishing podium six times including one win on his home- ground. Muzakkir and Ramdan may share many things in common however their distinguishing riding techniques is what makes up for a lasting impression. Unfortunately, while Ramdan may have claimed more victories last season, his double DNF status at Chang was the gate to Muzakkir’s gold mine. At the finale, Muzakkir trumped the troop of TVS Asia when he went on to mark his territory after a fiery battle his lead contender.

Muzakkir said, “Just like last year, body weight is always an important thing in racing especially in this lightweight category so I focus on my diet this time around. I want to be in shape and fit so that I can maximise speed and manage the machine better. This year, I foresee more challenges than last season. Looking at the rider line-up, this year we will be racing with some pretty strong riders and I have a feeling that we will see Indian rider on the podium. They have really good preparation for this season. Of course, Hiroki, Ramdan and Vorapong will be there to continue injecting the pressure. Some of them are in their third year while some of us as in second year. They are also fast and experienced. TVS R&D crew and all staff really know how to build a racing bike. They take a listen to every detail and feedback from the rider and always give the riders the best machine each round. As a defending champion, of course, I want to win but realistically, taking the top three positions would already be good enough for

me. Most importantly, I want to be competitive in each race. Buriram is like my second home, I like the environment and the circuit has always be an awesome playground with a dramatic effect.”

Vorapong on the other hand had a colourful start when he took a double win on his home-ground however, as the competition became stiffer progressively throughout the season and as the riders gained their momentum, he began to face his own fair share of struggles. In Round 5 particularly, he went on a down spiral with a DNF status in race 1 before scraping 4-points in race 2. Nevertheless, Vorapong determined to take the overall stage quickly bounced back up on his home-ground circuit where he went on to cash in a triple third.

Commenting on the season, Vorapong said, “Last year, so many dramas for me. I had a wonderful feeling in Round 1 and Round 2 but Japan and China were disastrous for me. I lost the championship because of that. This year, it is all about making a comeback. Chang circuit is home for me. I have an added advantage in sector two and three. So, I am feeling good for Round 1. Nevertheless, the line-up is quite intimidating especially with top three riders who were really strong. Also, this year we have Sarthak from India who will be joining us for the season. All I know is that I have to work very hard and I have been especially doing training in the programme with the AVRP racing riders, running, cycling and motocross. Of course, I also have to be mentally prepared and am doing my best to make sure that I am all set for the coming race. TVS Team has made many huge improvements in the TVS Apache RR310 since 2019 and I hope that I can come back stronger this time around for the championship title.”